behind in place or position; following behind:
men lining up one after the other.
later in time than; in succession to; at the close of:
Tell me after supper. Day after day he came to work late.
subsequent to and in consequence of:
After what has happened, I can never return.
below in rank or excellence; nearest to:
Milton is usually placed after Shakespeare among English poets.
in imitation of or in imitation of the style of:
to make something after a model; fashioned after Raphael.
in pursuit or search of; with or in desire for:
I’m after a better job. Run after him!
concerning; about:
to inquire after a person.
with the name of; for:
He was named after his uncle.
in proportion to; in accordance with:
He was a man after the hopes and expectations of his father.
according to the nature of; in conformity with; in agreement or unison with:
He was a man after my own heart. He swore after the manner of his faith.
subsequent to and notwithstanding; in spite of:
After all their troubles, they still manage to be optimistic.
behind; in the rear:
Jill came tumbling after.
later in time; afterward:
three hours after; happily ever after.
later in time; next; subsequent; succeeding:
In after years we never heard from him.
Nautical, Aeronautics.

farther .
located closest to the stern or tail; aftermost:
after hold; after mast.
including the stern or tail:
the after part of a hull.

subsequent to the time that:
after the boys left.
afters, British Informal. the final course of a meal, as pudding, ice cream, or the like; dessert.
after all, despite what has occurred or been assumed previously; nevertheless:
I’ve discovered I can attend the meeting after all.
Contemporary Examples

As for afters, forget a grotty gym shower and leaping into your street-clothes: the post-workout is as much fun as the class.
London’s Own Badass SoulCycle Emma Woolf March 16, 2014

“People have seen design shows before, with beautiful befores and afters,” says Jonathan.
How the Property Brothers Became Your Mom’s Favorite TV Stars Kevin Fallon November 24, 2014

Historical Examples

“A clump of square rigged, and fore and afters, sir,” was the response.
The Naval History of the United States Willis J. Abbot.

The fore and afters were the ropes secured to the side corners, and they, on being hauled taut and belayed, held it out square.
Pincher Martin, O.D. H. Taprell Dorling

noun (functioning as singular or pl) (Brit)
(informal) dessert; sweet
(slang) a confrontation or physical violence between football players immediately after they have been involved in a challenge for the ball
following in time; in succession to: after dinner, time after time
following; behind: they entered one after another
in pursuit or search of: chasing after a thief, he’s only after money
concerning: to inquire after his health
considering: after what you have done, you shouldn’t complain
next in excellence or importance to: he ranked Jonson after Shakespeare
in imitation of; in the manner of: a statue after classical models
in accordance with or in conformity to: a man after her own heart
with a name derived from: Mary was named after her grandmother
(US) past (the hour of): twenty after three
after all

in spite of everything: it’s only a game, after all
in spite of expectations, efforts, etc: he won the race after all!

after you, please go, enter, etc, before me
at a later time; afterwards
coming afterwards; in pursuit
(nautical) further aft; sternwards
(subordinating) at a time later than that at which: he came after I had left
(nautical) further aft: the after cabin

Old English æfter “after, next, throughout, following in time, later,” from Old English of “off” (see of) + -ter, a comparative suffix; thus the original meaning was “more away, farther off.” Cf. Old Norse eptir “after,” Old High German aftar, Gothic aftra “behind.” Cognate with Greek apotero “farther off.”

After hours “after regular working hours” is from 1861. Afterwit “wisdom that comes too late” is attested from c.1500 but seems to have fallen from use, despite being more needed now than ever. After you as an expression in yielding precedence is recorded by 1650.


In pursuit of; wanting, desiring: He is after her job (1775+)

after a fashion
after a sort
after a while
after all
after all’s said and done
after hours
after one’s own heart
after the fact

also see:

day after day
get after
go after
inquire after
keep after
live happily ever after
look after
morning after
name after
run after
see after
sought after
take after
throw good money after bad
time after time

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  • Afterward

    at a later or subsequent time; subsequently. Contemporary Examples The two sides were “extremely close” to a deal, Kerry said afterward, and have agreed to meet again in Geneva later this month. Despite Kerry’s Push for Delay, Senators Say They Want Iran Sanctions Josh Rogin November 12, 2013 At the ceremony and afterward I got […]

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