The Meaning of Aftermath: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of aftermath? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the term aftermath, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word aftermath mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as dictionaries like Collins English Dictionary and American Heritage, the word aftermath is a noun that means some consequence or result. It can also refer to the time period following the results of an event or occurrence, esp of a catastrophe or disaster. This is most often used figuratively, but can also be used to refer to a second-growth crop also called rowen. This second mowing of a crop of grass usually leads to a new growth of grass. The pronunciation of aftermath is ˈɑːftəˌmɑːθ. This word often has a negative connotation, but not always. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! You never know, it might become one of your new favorite words to use.

The word aftermath also exists in many other languages. You may notice that some of these are very similar to one another, because they have similar origins. Aftermath is a word that is Germanic in origin, as are many other languages, so they will often have similar roots and therefore similar words. This list of translations for the word aftermath is provided by Word Sense, but you could also find translations of aftermath in a Spanish dictionary.

  •  Russian: после́дствие‎ (neut.)
  •  Finnish: jälkivaikutus‎, jälkiseuraus‎, jälki‎, jäljet‎ (pl.)
  •  Spanish: consecuencias‎ (fem. pl.), resultados‎ (masc. pl.)
  •  French: séquelles‎ (fem. pl.)
  •  Japanese: 直後‎
  •  Mandarin: 後果‎, 后果‎ (hòuguǒ), 結果‎, 结果‎ (jiéguǒ)
  •  Dutch: nasleep‎ (masc.)
  •  Italian: conseguenze‎ (fem.)
  •  Turkish: ardından‎, sonrasında‎
  •  German: Nachwirkung‎ (fem.), Folge‎ (fem.)
  •  Armenian: հետևանքներ‎, հետագա զարգացումներ‎
  •  Walloon: shuvance‎ (fem.)
  •  Hungarian: következmény‎, utóhatás‎
  •  Greek: συνέπεια‎ (fem.), επακόλουθο‎ (neut.)
  •  Portuguese: resultado‎ (masc.), rescaldo‎

How can the word aftermath be used in a sentence?

The word aftermath can be used in many different ways in the English language to refer to the consequences of an event, or some practical consequence or consequence of some effort. Using words in a sentence is a great way to remember their definition. You could also try making yourself flashcards or quizzes. Below are many examples of aftermath. 

There was rioting and looting by the demonstrators in the aftermath of the wages being cut. The preceding catastrophe was the result of selfish leadership, and directly led to the disastrous event.

In the aftermath of drought and famine, many did worthy acts like volunteering to provide water and food to thirsty wild animals.

In the series of consequences that followed his wrongdoing, the relative was met with the aftermath of being written out of the will.

In the aftermath of the coup, the troops didn’t know who they could trust. The catastrophic event led to mistrust.

The Princeton University student read the first book in the series with lightning speed and couldn’t wait to figure out what the aftermath caused in the sequel.

In the aftermath of his dismissal from the college, Tom went on a bender and spent two weeks in bed. He didn’t know what to do next, since he would not be admitted to any other schools.

What is the origin of the word aftermath?

According to Etymonline, the word aftermath has been used since the 1520s in Middle English. This stems from the word after, and the word math, from the Old English mæð or Old English mæth meaning some mowing or cutting of grass. This comes from the Proto-Indo-European roots me meaning to cut down grass or grain. This is known as aftercrop in the 1560s, and aftergrass or lattermath in the 1680s. The figurative use of the word aftermath has been used since the 1650s. This is related to the French regain, Old French gain and Old French gaain, likely all from a Frankish or Germanic source similar to the Old High German weids meaning grass or pasture, like the German mahd

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word aftermath?

There are many different words that mean the same thing as the word aftermath, which are called synonyms. Synonyms are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful to know if you want to expand your vocabulary or if you want to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word aftermath is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  issue
  •  after-effects
  •  recompense
  •  waves
  •  flak
  •  consecution
  •  residue
  •  weight
  •  emanation
  •  results
  •  remainder
  •  residual
  •  residuum
  •  chain reaction
  •  causatum
  •  upshot
  •  payoff
  •  impact
  •  sequela
  •  contrecoup
  •  outcome
  •  ramification
  •  end
  •  consequences
  •  corollary
  •  importance
  •  eventuality
  •  comeupance
  •  comeuppance
  •  retribution
  •  reward
  •  backwash
  •  aftereffects

There are also many words and phrases that mean the opposite of the word aftermath. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are also very useful to know in order to expand your knowledge of the English language and to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word aftermath is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  determinant
  •  maker
  •  agency
  •  originator
  •  consideration
  •  prime mover
  •  stimulation
  •  ground
  •  end
  •  origin
  •  author
  •  instigation
  •  source
  •  beginning
  •  account
  •  aim
  •  grounds
  •  creator
  •  explanation
  •  doer
  •  spring
  •  genesis
  •  leaven
  •  basis
  •  motive
  •  purpose
  •  cause
  •  producer
  •  mainspring
  •  motivation
  •  antecedent
  •  causation
  •  agent
  •  foundation
  •  root
  •  inducement
  •  occasion
  •  matter
  •  incitement
  •  object
  •  principle
  •  element

Overall, the word aftermath can refer to the period following the outcome of an event or disaster, or misfortune of an unfortunate nature. It can also refer to some consequence or result, or a second growth of a first crop of hay or grass. This utilized the obsolete math and comes from the Old English mǣth.

Sources:

  1. aftermath: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. aftermath | Origin and meaning of aftermath | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  3. AFTERMATH Synonyms: 21 Synonyms & Antonyms for AFTERMATH | Thesaurus 
  4. CAUSE Synonyms: 141 Synonyms & Antonyms for CAUSE | Thesaurus 
  5. Aftermath | Definition of Aftermath | Merriam-Webster