Definition of latter in US English:



  • 1Situated or occurring nearer to the end of something than to the beginning.

    ‘the latter half of 1989’
    ‘heart disease dogged his latter years’
    • ‘The latter half of my previous letter, will in part, explain why.’
    • ‘The latter half of the book - on the necessity and the nature of missions - is heavier going.’
    • ‘Joining in the programme in the latter half, she will talk about her career, her father and her music.’
    • ‘So we did eat quite well, like when we were on the latter half of the tour.’
    • ‘You spent the first half of the week recalling the previous weekend and the latter half wishing the week forward to the next.’
    • ‘Well, Quine was probably the most important theorist of knowledge of the latter half of the twentieth century.’
    • ‘Somehow, I managed to get away with only posting on here almost once a month for the latter half of the year.’
    • ‘Had he missed the goal that point would have been very important in the latter stages of the game.’
    • ‘The company was initially keen to establish export markets, a policy which has paid off in the latter half of this century.’
    • ‘The Haldiram saga was also well mapped, but I did nod off towards the latter half.’
    • ‘In the latter stages of cooking add water chestnuts, small corns, green beans and a tin of coconut milk.’
    • ‘The real significance was the difference in tone and style between the beginning of his speech and the latter half.’
    • ‘Violent times for the poor reigned in the latter half of the last century and into the beginning of this one.’
    • ‘Good fishing reported in the latter half of the week with good hatches of olives and mayflies all over the lake.’
    • ‘My mother is in the latter stages of pregnancy and her health is extremely weak.’
    • ‘In the latter half of the 1990s there has been some waning of political focus on the issue of immigration.’
    • ‘The freight and passenger traffic is greater in the latter part of the week than at the beginning of the week.’
    • ‘Asparagus was not grown on a large scale in N. America until the latter half of the 19th century.’
    • ‘In the latter half of the 1840s, Britain was plunged into deep depression.’
    • ‘Indeed, if you do not, I would suggest that most of the latter half of the book would be unrelenting in its dullness.’
    later, hindmost, closing, end, concluding, final
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Recent.
      ‘the project had low cash flows in its latter years’
      • ‘The latter event came closest to threatening the singer's customary composure.’
      latest, most recent, modern
      View synonyms
  • 2the latterDenoting the second or second mentioned of two people or things.

    ‘the Russians could advance into either Germany or Austria—they chose the latter option’
    • ‘We are still clinging tenaciously to the latter at the expense of the former.’
    • ‘In football, the latter part of the equation does not seem to apply.’
    • ‘Of course, the 1979 constitution subordinated the latter to the former.’
    • ‘If anything, the emphasis has shifted progressively from the latter to the former.’
    • ‘If you were honest, you probably identified more with the latter option in each case.’
    • ‘Oddly enough, I find the latter to be a more important bit of news.’
    • ‘I mention the latter because of what we both saw under a tree some distance from us.’
    • ‘A lucky shot from the second assassin finally killed the ambassador as the latter ran off.’
    • ‘If dealer does the latter, a second round of bidding occurs in which eldest hand has the right to name the trump suit.’
    • ‘At present, I would say the balance of possibilities is tending towards the latter option.’
    • ‘I took the latter option, and less than a month later found myself a new job with my current employer.’
    • ‘To be or not to be - I'm rubbish at the former, and the latter isn't an option.’
    • ‘The latter in turn, blamed the shoppers who barged in without paying heed to instructions.’
    • ‘On the whole, I think that this campaign tends toward the latter at the expense of the former.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, it is to the latter that we will turn, and to which the second half of this chapter will be devoted.’
    last-mentioned, second-mentioned, second of the two, second, last, later
    View synonyms


Latter means ‘the second-mentioned of two.’ Its use to mean ‘the last-mentioned of three or more’ is common, but is considered incorrect by some because latter means ‘later’ rather than ‘latest.’ Last or last-mentioned is preferred where three or more things are involved. See also former


Old English lætra ‘slower’, comparative of læt (see late).