a. Behind in place or order: Z comes after Y in the alphabet.
b. Next to or lower than in order or importance.
2. In quest or pursuit of: seek after fame; go after big money.
3. Concerning: asked after you.
4. Subsequent in time to; at a later time than: come after dinner.
5. Subsequent to and because of or regardless of: They are still friends after all their differences.
6. Following continually: year after year.
7. In the style of or in imitation of: satires after Horace.
8. With the same or close to the same name as; in honor or commemoration of: named after her mother.
9. According to the nature or desires of; in conformity to: a tenor after my own heart.
10. Past the hour of: five minutes after three.
11. Irish Used with a present participle to indicate action that has just been completed: "Sure I'm after seeing him not five minutes ago" (James Joyce).
1. Behind; in the rear.
2. At a later or subsequent time; afterward: three hours after; departed shortly after.
1. Subsequent in time or place; later; following: in after years.
2. Located near the stern of a vessel or the rear or an aircraft or spacecraft.
Following or subsequent to the time that: I saw them after I arrived.
2. afters Chiefly British Dessert.
1. In spite of everything to the contrary; nevertheless: We chose to take the train after all.
2. Everything else having been considered; ultimately: A car is after all a means of transportation.
[Middle English, from Old English æfter; see apo- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.