Did you know?

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

after - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adverb, preposition, conjunction     after pronunciation in British English
After is used in the following ways:
as a preposition (followed by a noun): I went for a swim after breakfast.
as an adverb (without a following noun): He died on June 3rd and was buried the day after.
as a conjunction (connecting two clauses): After you’d left, I got a phone call from Stuart.
  1. 1
    at a later time
    1. a.
      when a particular time has passed, or when an event or action has ended

      After the war, I went back to work on the farm.

      Essays handed in after 12.00 on Friday will not be accepted.

      She is leaving the school after 20 years as headteacher.

      This message arrived after everyone had gone home.

      after a while:

      It seems noisy at first, but after a while you get used to it.

      after doing something:

      Wash your hands after touching raw meat.

    2. b.
      used for showing how much later something happens
      minutes/days/years etc after:

      His birthday is two days after mine.

      She got here just a few seconds after me (=after I got here).

      Barlow was arrested 24 hours after arriving back in Britain.

      soon/shortly/not long after:

      Joe was born not long after we moved to London.

      We got here at eleven and the others arrived soon after.

      straight after (=immediately after):

      You shouldn’t go swimming straight after a big meal.

    3. c.
      American used in telling the time, for giving the number of minutes past the hour

      It’s ten after nine (=9.10).

  2. 2
    at a later position in a list or piece of writing
    1. a.
      following someone or something else in a list or order

      N comes after M in the alphabet.

      The US is our largest export market after Germany.

      Kate is my best friend, after you of course.

    2. b.
      following something else in a piece of writing

      You don’t need to put a full stop after ‘Mr’.

      What do those letters after your name mean?

  3. 3
    further along a road, railway etc

    You turn right just after the pub.

    A few hundred metres after the village the road ended and we had to stop the car.

    We get off at the station after Newport.

  4. 4
    when someone leaves or has left
    1. a.
      if you call or shout after someone, you call or shout to them as they are leaving

      ‘And don’t come back!’ they yelled after him.

    2. b.
      if you clean up after someone, you clean up a mess they have made when they have left or after they have finished

      You can put those toys away because I’m not clearing up after you.

    3. c.
      if you close a door or gate after you, you close it as you leave a place

      She walked out, closing the door gently after her.

  5. 5
    considering what happened in the past
    1. a.
      used for saying that someone is influenced by past events

      After what happened last time, I was careful not to make the same mistake again.

      They wouldn’t invite John, not after the way he behaved at Sally’s wedding.

    2. b.
      used when there has been a surprising or disappointing result despite everything that was done in the past

      After all that I’d done for her, she didn’t even say thank you.

  6. 6
    trying to catch, find, or get someone/something
    1. a.
      trying to catch someone or something

      The police are after him for burglary.

      go/run/drive etc after (=follow and try to catch someone or something):

      I ran after her to apologize.

      His dog fell in the river and he jumped in after it.

    2. b.
      informal trying to find something

      A really good French dictionary, that’s what I’m after.

    3. c.
      informal wanting to get something that belongs to someone else

      Watch out, he’s only after your money.

  7. 7
    if you name a person or thing after someone, you give them the same name

    She’s called Diana, after Princess Diana.

    She has a street named after her.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

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
Macmillan learn live love play