late - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [not usually before noun] if you are late, you arrive somewhere after the correct or usual time

    She phoned to say she’d be late.

    late for:

    He was ten minutes late for school.

    too late:

    We climbed the hill to watch the sunset, but we were too late.

    1. a.
      used about something that happens after the correct or usual time

      There is a penalty for late registration.

      late with:

      They’re always late with their payments.

    2. b.
      used about something that continues after the time that it usually ends

      We got caught in a late meeting and almost missed the start of the film.

  2. 2
    [only before noun] near the end of a period of time such as a day, month, or season

    the late 18th century

    These bulbs bloom in late spring.

    a girl in her late teens

    1. a.
      near the end of an evening or night

      If it weren’t so late I would give Donna a call.

    2. b.
      done near the end of someone’s life or career

      The symphony is a late work.

      a late Picasso

  3. 3
    [only before noun] happening at a time just before the present
     Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    [only before noun] used for talking about someone who has died, especially recently

    my late aunt

     Synonyms and related words