Definition of after in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɑːftə/


1In the time following (an event or another period of time): shortly after their marriage they moved to Colorado after a while he returned he’d gone out with his secretary for an after-work drink
More example sentences
  • This is to be contrasted with the rebates which were paid periodically after the event.
  • He joined the Army shortly after leaving school to follow in the footsteps of his uncle.
  • The decision was no surprise and came after a lengthy consultation period.
following, subsequent to, succeeding, at the close/end of, in the wake of, later than
rare posterior to
1.1In phrases indicating something happening continuously or repeatedly: day after day we kept studying
More example sentences
  • Instead of devoting his time to his celebrity status, he spends hour after hour, week after week, working for the little guys... and loving it.
  • Day after day we see the spectacle of a Minister who is unable to do the task that he is paid for.
  • Day after day, the pair attempted to outdo each other lifting weights in the Celtic gym.
1.2North American Past (used in specifying a time): I strolled in about ten minutes after two
More example sentences
  • It was just after ten and we were buying the first round of drinks.
  • The clock in the window of a real estate office says "Two." A few windows down another clock says "Ten minutes after two."
  • At ten minutes after two the assistant asks the secretary if Mr. Garcia knows they are there.
1.3During the time following the departure or action of: she cooks for him and cleans up after him
More example sentences
  • He assumed the chief executive post less than a year later, after the departure of Martin.
  • He insisted that his presence there should remain secret even after his departure.
  • This means no tax is due on any income after the date of departure and a refund may be applied for.
2Behind: she went out, shutting the door after her
More example sentences
  • They entered the avenue, and locking the door after them, sought the flight of steps down which the count had before passed.
  • She sensed someone moving very quickly after her before she was hit from behind and had her bag snatched.
  • At the end of the interview he accompanies me to the lift instead of slamming the door after me.
behind, following, in the rear of
2.1(With reference to looking or speaking) in the direction of someone who is moving further away: she stared after him
More example sentences
  • The two friends were left staring after the caravan as it slowly rolled away down the dirt track.
  • Jen shouted after him, but he was too far away to hear her.
  • I stood looking out of the window after him.
3In pursuit or quest of: chasing after something you can’t have
More example sentences
  • But he seemed to be slipping as he chased after it and it was brilliant to see the ball go in.
  • She finally chased after one bus for about a mile-and-a-half until it stopped.
  • As many as three bidders are chasing after one of the biggest landlords in Britain, Canary Wharf.
in pursuit of, in someone's direction, following, on the track of, in the tracks of, in someone's footsteps
in search of, in quest of, on a quest for, in pursuit of, trying to find, looking for, on the lookout for, hunting for
4Next to and following in order or importance: in their order of priorities health comes after housing
More example sentences
  • For boys, reading comes after TV, listening to CDs, tapes and the radio, playing computer or video games, talking on the phone and visiting the Internet.
  • Among leisure activities reading comes after television, radio, time spent with family, and listening to music.
  • Mental health is important, but mental health comes after spiritual health.
next to, beside, besides, following, nearest to, below, immediately inferior to
5In allusion to (someone or something with the same or a related name): they named her Pauline, after Barbara’s mother
More example sentences
  • There are five wines in the premium range, named after his mother, who died last year.
  • He was named after his uncle, but his mother preferred to call him Campbell.
  • A modest engineer who discovered a huge gas field was honoured yesterday by having a site named after him.
in honour of, as a tribute to, as a mark of respect to, the same as;
North American  for
5.1In imitation of: a drawing after Millet’s The Reapers
More example sentences
  • Among the the most remarkable etchings are the artists's album of portraits after Raphael’s paintings.
  • This piece is conceived after Picasso's 1954 portrait, "Jaqueline, with roses".
  • This unusually large red-chalk drawing by Rembrandt is closely based on an early print after Leonardo da Vinci's famous mural of the Last Supper.
in the style of, in the manner of, in imitation of, on the model of, following the pattern of, after the fashion of, along/on the lines of, influenced by;
similar to, like, characteristic of

conjunction& adverb

During the period of time following (an event): [as conjunction]: bath-time ended in a flood after the taps were left running [as adverb]: Duke Frederick died soon after
More example sentences
  • My mother died soon after and left me the house, which is where I run my business from and make a small living.
  • Their other brother came soon after and now the three of them share a flat in Sofia.
  • We went to Anna's place after and then to see one of her friends for a wee while.
later, following, afterwards, after this/that, subsequently;
next, ensuing
formal thereafter


1 archaic Later: he was sorry in after years
More example sentences
  • At the head of the creek is the farm on which his grandfather was born, and in this beautiful locality were early nurtured those principles of liberty, which shone so brightly in his after years.
  • In his after years, he never omitted an opportunity of urging young men to avail themselves of every means of education offered to them.
  • This grand old man in his after years had the honor of enjoying what he had once seen.
2Nearer the stern of a ship: the after cabin
More example sentences
  • I heard voices in the cabins on either hand of me; some people came out of one of the after berths, and passed us, talking noisily but they took no heed of me or of my friend.
  • Immediately after the first sea swept over our stern, I ordered the Boatswain to take sufficient men and shutters to close all windows in the after cabin.
  • The gentlemen's after cabin was now entirely filled, and the forward cabin was certainly in as bad a condition.



after all

In spite of any indications or expectations to the contrary: I rang and told her I couldn’t come after all
More example sentences
  • Is there a danger we could expect too much of what is, after all, only a five-day event?
  • It dawns, suddenly, that we may not be helping the prime minister very much after all.
  • It turned out once little Abigail had been born there was nothing wrong after all.
most importantly, above all, beyond everything, most of all, ultimately, first and foremost, essentially, basically, elementally, at bottom, when you get right down to it
informal when all's said and done, at the end of the day, when push comes to shove

after hours

After normal working or licensed opening hours: [as adverb]: she was going in to work after hours [as adjective]: an after-hours jazz club
More example sentences
  • For several years, he worked as a caddie and secretly played the course before hours and after hours.
  • In some after-hours clubs, the music was shut off and the TV turned up for the half hour Small Wonder was on.
  • The clinic operates after hours, using daytime workers but paying them overtime.

after you

A polite formula used to suggest that someone goes in front of or takes a turn before oneself.
Example sentences
  • “No, please, after you.” “Please, I insist, you go first.”
  • "Not a bit of it, please after you sir" "Ah, non, non, I would not dare sir, after you"
  • “After you ladies,” he said offering her his most charming smile as she offered him a shy smile and brushed past him.

be after doing something

Irish Be on the point of doing something or have just done it: the pigs were after breaking loose
More example sentences
  • I really think that the country is going to suffer badly because our value system is after breaking down in many respects.
  • When I spoke to a number of residents here, on Friday morning last, they were after taking their complaints to the County Council the previous day and had staged a sit in.
  • They were after getting level, were running at us, and David just got the interception.


Old English æfter, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch achter.

Words that rhyme with after

drafter, grafter, hereafter, laughter, rafter, thereafter, whereafter

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: after

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