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

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

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What does the word latter mean?

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and Collins English Dictionary, the word latter has a few different use cases. First, it can be used as a pronoun to refer to the second or last person, place or thing in a list. Next, it can be used as an adjective to refer to the later part of some period of time or event or the end of a period of time, such as the  latter part of the century. The word latter is two syllables – lat-ter. The pronunciation of latter is ˈlætə.

Many different languages also contain words that mean latter. You might notice that some of these words look and sound like the word latter. These are called cognates. Cognates, which are words and phrases that look and sound similar across languages while also retaining the same meaning are usually formed when two words have the same language of origin or root word. This list of translations for the word latter is provided by Word Sense

  •  Catalan: segon‎
  •  Mandarin: 後者‎, 后者‎ (hòuzhě)
  •  Dutch: laatstgenoemde‎
  •  Finnish: jälkimmäinen‎
  •  French: dernier‎ (usually preceded by the determiner ce)
  •  German: letzterer‎, zweiter‎
  •  Italian: secondo‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: 後者‎ (こうしゃ, kōsha)
  •  Korean: 후자‎
  •  Bokmål: sistnevnt‎
  •  Nynorsk: sistnemnd‎
  •  Persian: دومی‎ (dovvomi)
  •  Polish: drugi (z dwóch)
  •  Portuguese: segundo‎
  •  Russian: второ́й‎
  •  Spanish: segundo‎ (masc.), éste‎ (masc.), ésta‎ (fem.), último
  •  Swedish: andra‎, senare‎

How can the word latter be used in a sentence?

The word latter can be used in many different sentences in natural sounding English. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making flashcards and quizzes to test your knowledge and vocabulary. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of the word latter to help get you started. 

In the latter half of the trip on the ferry, she began to feel sick. She didn’t know if it was the chicken she ate or seasickness, but she wished she could hop on a hovercraft and have the boat ride be over. 

In the latter stages of most cases, peoples’ symptoms worsened before they ultimately succumbed to the disease. But for the latter cases as of late, these worsening symptoms have not been a sign that the condition is fatal.

Dick and his cousin watched Heroes together during the latter half of the year every year. This present time, they decided to watch it in reverse order. Dick always fell asleep during the latter part of a film, but televisio he could watch. 

The Vice President took the latter offer as compared to the former when deciding which candidate he wanted to align with. He wanted to partner with someone who was an advocate during the latter days of human progress.

She was impressed by the latter point the student made when she was judging the debate tournament at Princeton University. It was down to the wire during the latter stages of the tournament.

It took her all day to find the copyright claim put forth for the ad. During the  latter part of the day, her eyes glazed over from looking at words all day. 

What is the origin of the word latter?

According to Etymonline, the word latter (læt-ər, adj.) comes from the Old English lætra, which is the comparative of the Old English læt meaning late. Latter was originally used to mean slower, but has been used to mean belonging to a subsequent period since 1200 and to mean the second of a list of things that have been mentioned since the 1550s. The word later appeared in the mid-c15 as a variant of the word latter, which only survives in the phrase “the latter” when compared to “the former.” While latter and later both have similar meanings and the same Indo-European roots, they are distinct words with different usage. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word latter?

There are a lot of different words that a person can use in place of the word latter. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a great way to avoid repeating the same word over and over again and can also be useful to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word latter is provided by Thesaurus

  •  latest
  •  recent
  •  final
  •  last
  •  closing
  •  following
  •  eventual
  •  rearmost
  •  hindmost
  •  terminal
  •  second
  •  lag
  •  modern
  •  later
  •  concluding
  •  last-mentioned

There are also numerous different words and phrases that have the opposite meaning as the word latter. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are another quick and easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of opposite words for the word latter is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  sometime
  •  former
  •  earlier
  •  long ago
  •  whilom
  •  bygone
  •  ex-
  •  once
  •  past
  •  of yore
  •  ancient
  •  above
  •  preceding
  •  late
  •  antecedent
  •  aforesaid
  •  prior
  •  long gone
  •  quondam
  •  departed
  •  erstwhile
  •  aforementioned
  •  first
  •  foregoing
  •  old
  •  one-time
  •  anterior

Overall, the word latter means either the second or last person or object mentioned in a list. This is usually compared to the former. The word latter can also be used as an adjective to refer to the later part of a period of time or event. The word latter is used frequently in the English language, so it is a great word to add to your vocabulary. 


  1. latter: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. LATTER Synonyms: 23 Synonyms & Antonyms for LATTER | Thesaurus 
  3. FORMER Synonyms: 37 Synonyms & Antonyms for FORMER | Thesaurus 
  4. latter | Origin and meaning of latter | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Latter definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary