Meaning of AFTER in English

I. af ‧ ter 1 S1 W1 /ˈɑːftə $ ˈæftər/ BrE AmE preposition , conjunction , adverb

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: æfter ]

1 . when a particular event or time has happened, or when someone has done something OPP before :

After the war many soldiers stayed in France.

I go swimming every day after work.

Do you believe in life after death?

The first attack started just after midnight.

David went to bed straight after (=immediately after) supper.

After you’d called the police, what did you do?

Zimmerman changed his name after he left Germany.

People still remember the 1958 revolution and what came after (=happened after it) .

after doing something

After leaving school, Mackay worked in a restaurant for a year.

two days/three weeks etc after (something)

Ten years after he bought the painting, Carswell discovered that it was a fake.

the day/week/year etc after (something) (=the next day, week etc)

His car was outside your house the morning after Bob’s engagement party.

I’ll see you again tomorrow or the day after.

She retired from politics the year after she received the Nobel Prize.

soon/not long/shortly after (something)

Not long after the wedding, his wife became ill.

The family moved to Hardingham in June 1983, and Sarah’s first child was born soon after.

2 . when a particular amount of time has passed OPP before :

After ten minutes remove the cake from the oven.

You’ll get used to it after a while.

After months of negotiation, an agreement was finally reached.

3 . following someone or something else in a list or a piece of writing, or in order of importance:

Whose name is after yours on the list?

The date should be written after the address.

After football, tennis is my favourite sport.

The UK is the world’s third largest arms producer, after the USA and Russia.

4 . American English used when telling the time to say how many minutes have passed since a particular hour SYN past British English :

The movie starts at a quarter (=fifteen minutes) after seven.

5 . day after day/year after year etc continuously for a very long time:

He’s worked in that same office week after week, year after year, since he was 18.

6 .

a) following someone in order to stop or speak to them:

Go after him and apologize.

I heard someone running after me, and a voice called my name.

b) in the direction of someone who has just left:

‘Good luck,’ she called after me as I left.

Harry stood in the doorway gazing after her.

7 . when someone has left a place or has finished doing something:

Remember to close the door after you.

I spend all day cleaning up after the kids.

8 . because of something that happened earlier:

I’m not surprised he walked out, after the way she treated him.

After your letter, I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.

9 . in spite of something that was done in the past:

How can you treat me like this after all I’ve done for you?

10 . when you have passed a particular place or travelled a certain distance along a road:

Turn left after the hotel.

After a mile you will come to a crossroads.

11 . be after somebody/something

a) to be looking for someone or something:

That boy’s always in trouble – the police are after him again.

‘Were you after anything in particular?’ ‘No, we’re just looking.’

b) informal to want to have something that belongs to someone else:

I think Chris is after my job.

12 . one after another/one after the other if a series of events or actions happen one after another, each one happens soon after the previous one:

Ever since we moved here it’s been one problem after another.

13 . after all

a) in spite of what you thought was true or expected to happen:

He wrote to say they couldn’t give me a job after all.

Union leaders announced that they would, after all, take part in the national conference.

b) used to say that something should be remembered or considered, because it helps to explain what you have just said:

Prisoners should be treated with respect – they are human beings after all.

I don’t know why you’re so concerned – it isn’t your problem after all.

14 . especially British English used to say who or what first had the name that someone or something has been given:

His name is Alessandro, after his grandfather.

It was named Waterloo Bridge, after the famous battle.

15 . formal in the same style as a particular painter, musician etc:

a painting after Rembrandt

16 .

a) after you spoken used to say politely that someone else can use or do something before you do:

‘Do you need the copier?’ ‘After you.’

b) after you with something used to ask someone if you can have or use something after they have finished:

After you with that knife, please.

⇨ a man/woman after my own heart at ↑ heart (22), ⇨ take after at ↑ take 1

• • •


▪ after preposition after something happens, or after a period of time has passed. After is used especially when taking about the past:

We went for a walk after lunch.


After an hour, we got tired of waiting and went home.


They got married just after Christmas.

▪ in preposition after a particular period of time. In is used especially when talking about the future, especially the next few minutes, hours, days etc:

The concert’s due to start in a few minutes.


I’ll come back in an hour.


In a few years’ time, this place will look completely different.

▪ within preposition after less than a month, two weeks etc has passed – used especially when the time seems surprisingly short: within a month/two weeks etc :

He developed a headache at lunchtime, and within two hours he was dead.


Within two days of arriving she had managed to upset everyone.

▪ 24 hours/a year etc from now at a time 24 hours, a year etc after now:

A week from now we’ll be in Paris.

▪ afterwards ( also afterward especially American English ) adverb after an event or time you have mentioned:

Jones admitted afterwards that she had been very nervous during the game.


Speaking to reporters afterward, he said the operation had been a success.


He moved to Belgium, and soon afterwards he met Angela.

▪ later adverb some time after now or after the time you are talking about:

I’ll tell you about it later when I’m less busy.

| two months/three years etc later :

James went off, and came back ten minutes later with some food.

▪ subsequently adverb formal after something had happened in the past:

The book was published in 1954 and was subsequently translated into fifteen languages.

II. after 2 BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

1 . in after years literary in the years after the time that has been mentioned

2 . technical in the back part of a boat or an aircraft

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.