late Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “late” in the English Dictionary

"late" in British English

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lateadjective, adverb

uk   us   /leɪt/
  • late adjective, adverb (NEAR THE END)

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.

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  • late adjective, adverb (AFTER EXPECTED TIME)

A1 (​happening or ​arriving) after the ​planned, ​expected, ​usual, or ​necessarytime: This ​train is always late. You'll be late foryourflight if you don't ​hurry up. Sorry I'm late. I was ​held up in the ​traffic. It's too late to ​startcomplaining now. We always have a late ​breakfast on ​Sundaymornings. Some late news (= ​news of something that ​happened after the ​newsprogrammestarted) has just come in - a ​bomb has ​exploded in ​central London. Our ​ferry was two ​hours late because of the ​strike. Kathryn's just ​phoned to say she's ​working late this ​evening.
See also

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lateness
noun [U] uk   us   /ˈleɪt.nəs/
formal the ​fact of being late: It was no ​greatsurprise that you were ​tired given the lateness of the ​hour.

lateadjective [before noun]

uk   us   /leɪt/
(Definition of late from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"late" in American English

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lateadjective, adverb [-er/-est only]

 us   /leɪt/
(​happening or being) near the end of a ​period or in the ​recent past: I ​expect him ​home late this ​afternoon. I’d ​better get going – I had no ​idea it was so late! [+ to infinitive] It’s too late to ​call now. I ​think Jody’s in her late ​twenties. He is a ​celebratedpainter of the late 19th ​century.
(​happening or ​arriving) after the ​planned, ​expected, ​usual, or ​necessarytime: Sorry I’m late – I was ​caught in ​traffic. You’ll be later than you already are if you don’t ​hurry up. This is the latest she’s ​everworked. Summer came late this ​year (= The ​weatherbecamewarm after the ​usualtime). It’s too late to do anything about it now.
lateness
noun [U]  us   /ˈleɪt·nəs/
My ​boss doesn’t ​tolerate lateness.

lateadjective [not gradable]

 us   /leɪt/
no ​longeralive, esp. having ​recentlydied: She gave her late husband’s ​clothes to ​charity.
(Definition of late from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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