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

Do you know the definition of the 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 Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word the latter refers to the second or last or two people, groups or things. The first in this list would be called the former. This is considered a noun or pronoun, but the latter can also be used as an adjective. Many things can be described as latter, like the latter part of a film, latter part of the century, latter days of human progress, or latter cases of an illness.  Latter is two syllables – lat-ter, and the pronunciation of later is ˈlætə-ər.

There are many different languages that also contain words that mean latter. You may notice that some of these translations of latter look or sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases in different languages that have the same meaning and also look and sound similar. These are formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations for the word latter is provided by Word Sense

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

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word latter?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word latter. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful English grammatical devices to know because they can help you to avoid repeating yourself as well as to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word latter is provided by Power Thesaurus. 

  •  old
  •  secondly
  •  over
  •  ancient
  •  farthest
  •  behind
  •  final curtain
  •  ulterior
  •  succeeding
  •  on way out
  •  concluding
  •  aftermost
  •  latters
  •  past
  •  utmost
  •  another
  •  terminal
  •  second of two things
  •  furthest
  •  lag
  •  coming
  •  finishing
  •  newest
  •  terminals
  •  as dead as mutton
  •  supreme
  •  ultimate
  •  dilatory
  •  late
  •  bygone
  •  last-ditch
  •  last
  •  last-mentioned
  •  after
  •  antecedent
  •  second
  •  hindmost
  •  posterior
  •  middle
  •  above
  •  eventual
  •  long-ago
  •  earlier
  •  last-minute
  •  decisive
  •  terminating
  •  early
  •  modern
  •  way back when
  •  antipodal
  •  senior
  •  held up
  •  afterward
  •  belate
  •  foregoing
  •  preceding
  •  latest
  •  ancient history
  •  extreme
  •  crowning
  •  future
  •  end
  •  final
  •  rearmost
  •  following
  •  chips down
  •  recent
  •  second of the two
  •  under
  •  later on
  •  last in line
  •  conclusive
  •  ensuing
  •  present
  •  subsequent
  •  closing
  •  below
  •  gone-by
  •  second-mentioned
  •  prior
  •  way back
  •  anterior
  •  more recent
  •  approaching
  •  this one
  •  definitive
  •  later
  •  ages ago
  •  new
  •  according
  •  gone
  •  blown
  •  former
  •  come
  •  back
  •  previous
  •  tonight
  •  ending
  •  most recent
  •  secondary

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word latter. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are also useful to know if you are trying to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  closing
  •  end
  •  delayed
  •  before
  •  eleventh-hour
  •  earliest
  •  same time
  •  first
  •  aforementioned
  •  dilatory
  •  belated
  •  earlier
  •  former
  •  virgin
  •  inaugural
  •  age-old
  •  antecedent
  •  early
  •  anterior
  •  blown
  •  backward
  •  old
  •  opening
  •  leadoff
  •  erstwhile
  •  older than the hills
  •  continuing
  •  preceding
  •  commencing
  •  preliminary
  •  maiden
  •  behindhand
  •  headmost
  •  initial
  •  foremost
  •  big
  •  concluding
  •  as old as time
  •  starting
  •  ancient
  •  antique
  •  as old as methuselah
  •  ahead of the pack
  •  beginning
  •  front
  •  crowning
  •  original
  •  as old as the sea
  •  behind time
  •  behind

How can the word latter be used in a sentence?

The word latter can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also make quizzes or flashcards for yourself to test your knowledge of different definitions. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of latter to get you started.

The writer, Dick, could have used the expletive f*ck or the euphemism f-bomb, but he opted for the latter so the rating of the book would remain for pre-teen audiences. With too much swearing, the book would gain taboo status, be aged up, be less popular, and potentially in poor taste.

The popstar was Mormon, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, its formal name and official name.

She could have attended Harvard or Princeton University. She chose the latter of the options listed in the previous sentence since her cousin went there and she missed their banters. 

The heroes of the flim could have taken a ferry or a hovercraft to her destination. They chose the latter – who wouldn’t! The novel was set after present time.

What is the origin of the word latter?

According to Etymonline, the word latter has been used since the Old English lætra which means slower. This is a comparative of læt meaning late. This word has been used to mean a consequent period since 1200. This word is of Indo-European roots.

Overall, the word latter (n./adj.) means the second thing in a list of things, people, or groups. This word is of Latin origin.


  1. latter: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Latter synonyms – 258 Words and Phrases for Latter | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Latter antonyms – 250 Opposites of Latter | Power Thesaurus 
  4. latter | Origin and meaning of latter | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Latter definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary