Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “late”


adjective, adverb (NEAR THE END)    /leɪt/
A1 (happening or being) near the end of a period of time: It was late at night. We talked late into the night. Is that the time? I'd no idea it was so late. It was late summer when it happened. It was built in the late 19th century. He's probably in his late twenties. As late (= as recently) as the 1980s they were still using horses on this farm.Late Grammar:Late or lately?Late is both an adverb and an adjective; it means the opposite of early. Lately is also an adverb; it means ‘recently’.See moreGrammar:Late meaning ‘not on time’Late as an adverb means ‘not on time’:See moreGrammar:Lately meaning ‘recently’We use lately for states or for repeated events, mostly with the present perfect:See more lateness     /ˈleɪt.nəs/ noun [U] formal the fact of being late: It was no great surprise that you were tired given the lateness of the hour.Late
(Definition of late adjectiveadverb (NEAR THE END) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of late

Definitions of “late” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a document given to students or reporters which contains information about a particular subject

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More