Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

afterparty also after-party or after party

noun [countable]

a relaxed social gathering which occurs after a party, concert, or trip to a nightclub


verb [intransitive]

'Going three for eight wasn't the only thing that Mariah Carey and Kanye West had in common on Grammy night. Both also hosted the most anticipated afterparties. Revelers had to travel to a secret location in Beverly Hills and then board shuttles to get to Mariah's party …'

MTV News 9th February 2006

'… I can honestly recommend the Marriott in Brighton. that's where we & our guests stayed (it also has a huge lobby bar that we afterpartied in …).'

personal weblog9th May 2005

One of the movie industry's most influential award ceremonies takes place on Sunday 5th March 2006 – the 78th annual Oscars, to be held at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. In the aftermath of the glitz, glamour and hype, and the inevitable speculation about the winners and the reaction to them, the media will be avidly following the afterparties, the exclusive social gatherings attended by celebrities wanting to 'chill out' after the excitement of the ceremony.

if the afterparty takes place in the early hours of the morning, it may go on to include breakfast

The word afterparty, also regularly occurring as an open compound after party or hyphenated after-party, is now used to describe a social gathering which occurs after a party or other potentially noisy and crowded event such as a trip to a nightclub. It has also morphed into a verb, with some evidence for forms such as afterpartying and afterpartied, as illustrated in the second citation above. Afterparties usually involve people sitting down, relaxing, chatting freely and consolidating new friendships that may have begun during the main party. If the afterparty takes place in the early hours of the morning, it may go on to include breakfast.

Though afterparties can be impromptu gatherings in the homes of ordinary people, the use of the word popularised by the media refers to a pre-planned event held at a specific venue, including cocktails, entertainment and an exclusive guest list featuring high-profile celebrities.

Background – afterparty

The word afterparty first appeared in the early 1980s, though has gained currency much more recently through its exposure in web-based journalism. A related term is the noun/adjective chillout (also chill-out), which emerged in the early 1990s based on the phrasal verb chill out ('to spend time relaxing'). The word chillout encapsulates the quiet period after a party or other hectic event when slow, soothing music is played in a calming atmosphere. One of its most common uses is in referring to a style of soothing music, e.g. chillout music, or simply chillout. In 2002, the idea of chilling out was taken to the extreme in the new concept of a quiet party, an unconventional social gathering in which loud noise and talking are prohibited, with guests often communicating though hand-written notes.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 27th February 2006.

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog