late (adj.)

Old English læt "occurring after the customary or expected time," originally "slow, sluggish, slack, lax, negligent," from Proto-Germanic *lata- (source also of Old Norse latr "sluggish, lazy," Middle Dutch, Old Saxon lat, Dutch laat, German laß "idle, weary," Gothic lats "weary, sluggish, lazy," latjan "to hinder"), from PIE *led- "slow, weary," from root *‌‌lē- "to let go, slacken."

From mid-13c. as "occurring in the latter part of a period of time." From c. 1400 as "being or occurring in the near, or not too distant, past; recent" (of late). From this comes the early 15c. sense "recently dead, not many years dead" (as in the late Mrs. Smith). Of menstruation, attested colloquially from 1962. Expression better late than never is attested from late 15c. As an adverb, from Old English late "slowly."

updated on January 30, 2018

Definitions of late from WordNet
late (adj.)
having died recently;
her late husband
late (adj.)
(used especially of persons) of the immediate past;
our late President is still very active
Synonyms: former / previous
late (adj.)
of the immediate past or just previous to the present time;
their late quarrel
a late development
Synonyms: recent
late (adj.)
at or toward an end or late period or stage of development;
the late phase of feudalism
Synonyms: later
late (adj.)
being or occurring at an advanced period of time or after a usual or expected time;
late evening
took a late flight
had a late breakfast
late 18th century
a late movie
late (adj.)
after the expected or usual time; delayed;
the train is late
I'm late for the plane
Synonyms: belated / tardy
late (adj.)
of a later stage in the development of a language or literature; used especially of dead languages;
late (adv.)
later than usual or than expected;
the train arrived late
we awoke late
the children came late to school
Synonyms: belatedly / tardily
late (adv.)
to an advanced time;
talked late into the evening
Synonyms: deep
late (adv.)
at an advanced age or stage;
she married late
undertook the project late in her career
late (adv.)
in the recent past;
feeling better of late
as late as yesterday she was fine
Synonyms: recently / lately / of late / latterly
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.