We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out moreJump to Main NavigationJump to Content
  • Text size: A
  • A

after, adv., prep., and conj.

Brit. /ˈɑːftə/
U.S. /ˈæftər/

α. eOE aæfter, eOE aeftaer, OE aefter (rare), OE æfterr (Northumbrian), OE æftor (rare), OE æftyr (rare), OE æter (transmission error), OE aftær (in a late copy), OE (rare)–eME æftær, OE (rare)–eME æfte, OE–eME æfter, OE–eME ęfter, OE (rare)– after, lOE æfer (perhaps transmission error), lOE–eME eafter, lOE–eME hæfter, eME ææfter, eME affterr ( Ormulum), eME aster (transmission error), ME affeter, ME afftere, ME afftir, ME afftr, ME afftre, ME afftter, ME affttyr, ME afftur, ME afftyr, ME afitir (transmission error), ME afteir, ME afþer, ME afthere, ME aftire, ME aftiree, ME aftour, ME aftr, ME aftter, ME afþur, ME afture, ME aftyre, ME aufter, ME auftir, ME haffter, ME hafter, ME haftyr, ME haufeter, ME ofter, ME (18– Irish English) afther, ME–15 aftere, ME–15 aftir, ME–15 aftre, ME–15 aftur, ME–15 aftyr, ME–16 affter, ME–16 aftar, 18– afthar (Irish English and Manx English), 19– af'er (U.S. regional (in African-American usage)); Scottish pre-17 afftir, pre-17 aftir, pre-17 aftyr, pre-17 17 affter, pre-17 17– after, 18– aifter.

β. Chiefly early and northern eOE ester (Northumbrian and Mercian, transmission error), eOE yftær (Kentish), eOE yfter (Kentish), OE–eME efer (perhaps transmission error), OE–ME efter, OE (rare)–ME hefter, lOE eftær, eME effer (transmission error), eME hester (transmission error), ME effter, ME efftere, ME efftir, ME efftyr, ME eftere, ME eftir, ME eftire, ME eftre, ME eftter, ME eftur, ME eftyr, ME eftyre, ME hefteir; English regional (northern and Lincolnshire) 18– efter, 18– efther, 18– eftther; Scottish pre-17 effter, pre-17 efftere, pre-17 efftir, pre-17 efftyr, pre-17 efftyre, pre-17 eftere, pre-17 eftire, pre-17 eftre, pre-17 eftyr, pre-17 eftyre, pre-17 17– efter, pre-17 17– eftir; also Irish English 19– efter, 19– efther.

See also arter adv., prep., and conj.(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: A word inherited from Germanic.
Etymology: Cognate with (all as both adverb and preposition) Old Frisian efter   (adverb and preposition) after (in time), to, as a result of, through, in accordance with, behind (West Frisian efter  , ( < Dutch) achter  ), Old Dutch after  , aftir   (adverb and preposition) behind, according to (Middle Dutch after  , achter  , also in sense ‘after (in time)’; Dutch achter  ), Old Saxon aftar   (adverb and preposition) after (in time), behind, through, as a result of (Middle Low German achter   ( > Norwegian akter  , Swedish akter  , Danish agter  , all as adverb in specific sense ‘astern’), Old High German after   (adverb and preposition) after (in time), in accordance with, behind (Middle High German after  , ahter  ), also (with various variations in the suffix, although the precise nature of this is disputed) Old Icelandic aptr   (Icelandic aftur  ), Old Swedish apter  , after  , atter   (Swedish åter  ), Old Danish atær   (Danish atter  ), all as adverb in sense ‘back, back again, backwards, again’, Early Runic after   (preposition) after, Gothic aftaro   (adverb) behind, from behind, aftra   (adverb) again, backwards, and also (apparently with different form of suffix causing i-mutation) Old Icelandic eptir  , eftir   (Icelandic eftir  ) (preposition) after (in time or place), Old Swedish æpti  , æptir  , æfti  , æftir  , ætti  , ættir   (Swedish efter  ), Old Danish æftir   (Danish efter  ), all as preposition, adverb, and (in Swedish and Danish) conjunction in sense ‘after (in time or place)’; ultimately showing a formation with an Indo-European comparative suffix also represented by Sanskrit -tara  , ancient Greek -τερος  , classical Latin -ter   (see discussion at other adj., pron., n., and adv.2); the base is probably that of of prep.   (as shown likewise by the comparative formations ancient Greek ἀπωτέρω  , Sanskrit apataram  , both in sense ‘further off’; compare also Sanskrit aparam   afterwards), although it could alternatively be the same base as shown by ancient Greek ἐπί   (see epi- prefix). Compare after adj., aftermost adj., and also after- prefix. Compare also aft adv.
The early β. forms   show the regular development of Old English æ   to e   in Kentish and Mercian and their early Middle English reflexes. Northern Middle English β. forms   probably show influence from early Scandinavian (compare Old Icelandic eftir  ). Influence from eft adv. has also been suggested.
In Old English, the preposition is construed either with the dative or (rarely and chiefly in Northumbrian) with the accusative. The use as temporal conjunction (see sense C. 1), which in Old English is found only in prose, is perhaps originally after classical Latin postquam subsequent to the time when.
In Old English (and occasionally also later), the word can be used as preposition in postmodifying position; in Old English, this use is typically found after personal pronouns (compare also hereafter adv., thereafter adv.). In Old English and early Middle English, this use can be difficult to distinguish from use as a verbal prefix or separable verbal particle (see after- prefix   and compare discussion at out- prefix; see further B. Mitchell Old Eng. Syntax (1985) §§ 1060–80). Compare the following:
eOE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Parker) anno 878   He..hiene gefliemde, & him æfter rad oþ þæt geweorc.
eOE   tr. Orosius Hist. (BL Add.) (1980) i. x. 29   Hie..sona þone cyning gefliemdon mid his folce, & him æfterfolgiende wæron.
OE   Wærferð tr. Gregory Dialogues (Corpus Cambr.) (1900) i. xii. 88   Gað ge beforon; ic eow cume æfter.
c1225  (?c1200)    St. Juliana (Royal) l. 235   Þu leddest israeles folc þurh þe reade sea..ant hare fan senchtest þet ham efter sohten [c1225 Bodl. ferden ham efter].
 A. adv.

 a. Behind something in place or position; in the rear; further back.

OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 2nd Ser. (Cambr. Gg.3.28) xii. 112   Pharao..tengde æfter mid eallum his here and offerde hi æt ðære readan sæ.
OE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Tiber. B.iv) anno 1076   Rawulf..wæs fægen þæt he to scypum ætfleah, & his wif belaf æfter in þam castele.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 41 (MED)   Mihhal eode bi-foren and paul com efter.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 787   Þe king sette to fleonne, & al þa ferde eafter.
c1330   Sir Orfeo (Auch.) (1966) 378 (MED)   In þis castel þe leuedis aliȝt; He wold in after, ȝif he miȝt.
c1380   Sir Ferumbras (1879) 1001 (MED)   Þe Sarasynz..prykede away..& þay folȝyeaþ after.
c1450  (c1440)    S. Scrope tr. C. de Pisan Epist. of Othea (Longleat) (1904) 79   The harpor [sc. Orpheus]..toke hym hys wyff vpon a condicion that he shulde goo afore and sche after.
a1500  (?a1450)    Gesta Romanorum (Harl. 7333) (1879) 313 (MED)   All þat sawe hire [sc. a hind] svyd aftir with houndis.
1541   Schole House of Women sig. B.iii   The wyfe, wolde haue a tayle Come rakyng after.
1611   Bible (King James) Luke xxiii. 55   And the women also..followed after, and beheld the Sepulchre.  
1645   True Relation of Whale 4   There was..such a Fray of Sea-monsters (the old ones following after) as the like was never seene.
1724   T. Lewis Origines Hebrææ I. iii. vii. 310   The Tabernacle was to follow, between those two that went before, and the Camp of Ephraim and the Camp of Dan that came after.
1785   Mother Goose's Melody 37   Jack fell down And broke his Crown, And Gill came tumbling after.
1844   W. M. Thackeray Barry Lyndon ii. ii, in Fraser's Mag Nov. 591/2   She ran screaming through the galleries, and I, as tipsy as a lord, came staggering after.
1879   J. Hawthorne Archibald Malmaison vi. 70   Poor Archie toddled after.
1931   J. Mockford Khama xxxi. 222   The women-folk follow after, balancing bed-mats and food-baskets on their heads.
2008   R. Raisin God's Own Country x. 77   Yer father'll bray you if he hears on it. He will, I said, and walked out, Sal towing after.

OE—2008(Hide quotations)


 b. In a position of lower rank or importance; as a lower priority; secondarily.

c1400  (c1378)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Laud 581) (1869) B. x. l. 358 (MED)   Loue þi lorde god leuest aboue alle, And after, alle crystene creatures.
a1450  (c1400)    in D. M. Grisdale 3 Middle Eng. Serm. (1939) 73 (MED)   Mannes resun..schuld evin be preferrid be-for sensualite & ner cum after.
1867   R. Edwards & J. R. Webb Analyt. 3rd Reader lxi. 187 (heading)    Business first and pleasure after.
1916   E. A. Boyd Ireland's Literary Renaissance iv. 80   The writers of The Nation were, as has been stated, patriots first and poets after.
2003   S. Tharoor Nehru iii. 47   With many close Muslim friends whom he saw as friends first and Muslims after (if at all), he could not..take religious divisions seriously.

c1400—2003(Hide quotations)


 a. Later in time; afterwards; subsequently.Formerly used before (as well as after) the verb, now chiefly at the end of a sentence or clause.

eOE   Bald's Leechbk. (Royal) (1865) i. ii. 36   Gereste him æfter & slape & þonne aþweah his eagan mid clæne wætre.
OE   Beowulf (2008) 12   Ðæm eafera wæs æfter cenned.
lOE   tr. R. d'Escures Sermo in Festis Sancte Marie Virginis in R. D.-N. Warner Early Eng. Homilies (1917) 138   Næfre ær ne æfter, nan oðer swa forðlice ne gesmæhte, hwu swote is ure Drihten.
a1250  (?c1200)    St. Katherine (Titus) (1981) l. 827 (MED)   Þurh hwam we mahen haue sikere bileaue to arisen alle after.
a1300   in R. Morris Old Eng. Misc. (1872) 139 (MED)   Of þe mayde þu were ibore..Þo þu hire to come, heo mayde wes, And mayde heo wes after wemmeles.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 12 (MED)   Marie blefte eure, mayde an yhol be-uore and efter.
c1405  (c1385)    G. Chaucer Knight's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 1201   And after was she maad the lode sterre.
c1450   King Ponthus (Digby) in Publ. Mod. Lang. Assoc. Amer. (1897) 12 61 (MED)   They hade carralles, daunces, and songys to mydnyght. And aftre, they dranke and ete spyces. And aftre, the straungers toke theyr leve.
1481   W. Caxton tr. Hist. Reynard Fox (1970) 62   Men may wel lye whan it is nede, and after amende it.
a1500  (?a1390)    J. Mirk Festial (Gough) (1905) 1 (MED)   Holy chirche layþe downe songys of melody befor, yn tokenyng of vengans þat woll come aftyr.
1594   H. Plat Diuers Chimicall Concl. Distillation 40 in Jewell House   A..substance, which you may after cleanse by ablution.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Julius Caesar (1623) i. ii. 77   If you know, That I do fawne on then [sic]..And after scandall them.  
1651   T. Gataker in T. Fuller Abel Redevivus 213   Our worthy Jewel, after Bishop of Salisbury.
a1668   W. Davenant Wks. (1673) 277   He who made discovery Of the west-world, could not directly ply To make those Harbours which he after found.
1757   E. Burke Philos. Enq. Sublime & Beautiful iv. §1. 119   All we do after, is but a faint struggle.
1768   H. Walpole Hist. Doubts 5   The king smote the young prince on the face, and after his servants slew him.
1790   Edinb. Mag. Sept. 161/2   He after went home with Ayto Aylo.
1834   F. Marryat Peter Simple II. xvi. 273   ‘Will you have your glass of grog before or after?’ ‘Before, by all means.’
1859   Ld. Tennyson Enid in Idylls of King 21   Enid took his charger to the stall; And after went her way across the bridge.
1891   F. R. Brainard in C. King By Land & Sea 115   On the instant of the striking, neither before nor after, he was on the bridge.
1922   J. Joyce Ulysses ii. 97   Must be careful about women. Catch them once with their pants down. Never forgive you after.
1970   K. Williams Diary 30 Aug. (1993) 382   After, I congratulated them all & bought them drinks.
2000   A. E. Wolf Secret of Parenting 126   ‘Carole Ann, please pick up your toys now. It's almost supper.’ ‘I'll do it after.’

eOE—2000(Hide quotations)


 b. With another temporal adverb or adverbial phrase, or with a specified period of time: later by the specified amount of time; (also) for the specified amount of time subsequent to an event. See also ever after at ever adv. 1b.

eOE   tr. Orosius Hist. (BL Add.) (1980) ii. ii. 39   Raðe æfter [OE Tiber. æfter ðan] Romulus hiora anginn geunclænsade mid his broðor slege.
OE   Wulfstan Pastoral Let. (Hatton) (1957) 226   His wylla is þæt we aa æfter ure agenre þearfe geornlice winnan.
a1325  (c1280)    Southern Passion (Pepys 2344) (1927) l. 1726 (MED)   Some lyuede after longe [v.r. longe þerafter].
a1375  (c1350)    William of Palerne (1867) l. 1408 (MED)   Confort..þei cauȝt sone after.
a1425  (c1395)    Bible (Wycliffite, L.V.) (Royal) (1850) Gal. ii. 1   And sith fourtene ȝeer aftir, eftsones Y wente vp to Jerusalem.
c1450   Treat. Fysshynge wyth Angle (1883) 17 (MED)   Yf he be a frayd, he wyl not byt a good while aftur.
1513   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid ix. v. 40   Brocht in schort quhile eftir syne.
1587   Sir P. Sidney & A. Golding tr. P. de Mornay Trewnesse Christian Relig. xxxiv. 638   Immediatly after, all things should be set in their perfect state ageine.
1625   J. Hart Anat. Urines ii. iv. 73   This flux continued..for some few dayes after.
1625   J. Hart Anat. Urines ii. vi. 87   She died about two months after.
1684   J. Bunyan Pilgrim's Progress 2nd Pt. 219   It came to pass, a while after, that there was a Post in the Town that enquired for Mr. Honest.  
1711   J. Swift Jrnl. to Stella 13 Aug. (1948) I. 331   I felt my last riding three days after.
1753   J. Hanway Hist. Acct. Brit. Trade Caspian Sea III. xxii. 149   Soon after, the artillery..proclaimed the news to the people.
1800   S. Turner Acct. Embassy Court Teshoo Lama 81   A few days after, I had an application for a fresh supply of the former [sc. raspberry jam and claret].
1854   Harper's Mag. Apr. 654/2   For a long time after, the stings of a wounded conscience reproached him.
1882   Ballou's Monthly Mag. Oct. 352/2   For a moment there seemed no hope of her escape. ‘It was rub and go’, said the prize-master, as he told the story years after.
1914   J. B. Rathbun Motion Picture Making iii. 68   The camera man starts cranking the machine and the actors stand alert... An instant after follows the order, ‘Start your action’.
1957   M. Hadfield Brit. Trees 396   The red horse-chestnut was first described in 1818 by the French botanist Loiscleur... It was apparently received and planted in Britain not long after.
2007   H. R. F. Keating Rules, Regs & Rotten Eggs (2008) xix. 209   It was then I heard the bell. No. No, wait. It was a bit after.

eOE—2007(Hide quotations)


 c. Preceded by the and a unit of time (frequently with preceding ordinal number): on the (second, third, etc.) day, week, month, year, etc., that follows.

a1375  (c1350)    William of Palerne (1867) l. 2517 (MED)   Þei..rested..al þat longe day & al þe niȝt next after.
a1470   T. Malory Morte Darthur (Winch. Coll. 13) (1990) I. 444   All people sholde be at his castell the fifth day aftir.
1569   R. Grafton Chron. II. 61   Because it was Sunday, nothing was done. So the day after, which was the second fery, the Archebishop was cited to apere.
c1600   Wriothesley's Chron. Eng. (1875) I. 36   The morrowe after, being Satterdaie.
1611   Bible (King James) John i. 35   The next day after John stood, and two of his disciples.  
a1699   I. Abendana Disc. Eccl. & Civil Polity of Jews (1706) vi. 186   The Day after is that of Purim, which is a Feast.
1727   E. Calamy Contin. Acct. Ministers II. 34   It fell the Week after to one thousand and fifty, and the Week after to six hundred fifty-two.
1758   E. Spelman tr. Dionysius of Halicarnassus Rom. Antiq. II. v. 339   The day after, he appeared in a mourning habit.
1858   Harper's Mag. Aug. 406/1   The night after, the King's governor and the King's army found themselves closely beleagured [sic] in Boston.
1891   C. Creighton Hist. Epidemics Brit. x. 507   In the last week of March they [sc. plague deaths] were 11, and in the week after, 10.
1908   Amer. Mag. Nov. 48/1   To-morrow we make an important revelation..and we want to follow it up the morning after by a cartoon that will be a stunner.
1949   Life 19 Sept. 45/3   Next year it will be worse, still worse the year after.
2007   Gloucestershire Echo (Nexis) 8 Dec. 38   The day after I ached so much I felt like I'd been run over by a truck.

a1375—2007(Hide quotations)


 3. With regard to writing: subsequently in the text, further down, below. Cf. hereafter adv. 1, herein after adv. at herein adv. Compounds. Now rare.

eOE   Cleopatra Gloss. in W. G. Stryker Lat.-Old Eng. Gloss. in MS Cotton Cleopatra A.III (Ph.D. diss., Stanford Univ.) (1951) 238   Infra, æfter.
OE   Ælfric Let. to Sigeweard (De Veteri et Novo Test.) (Laud) 21   Ure Hælend Crist ure yfel gebette, swa swa þeos racu æfter [c1175 Bodl. hæræfter] us segð.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 12 (MED)   Þe þridde article, and the vifte þet uolȝeþ efter, belongeþ to þe zone.
1385   in D. Macpherson et al. Rotuli Scotiae (1819) II. 73/1   The forsayd lordes are acordit in specialte as efter folowes.
c1460   in A. Clark Eng. Reg. Oseney Abbey (1907) 110 (MED)   The charter of John ij of Seynt John, seke after.
1584   King James VI & I Ess. Prentise Poesie sig. Liiij   The wordis, sentences, and phrasis necessair for a Poete to vse in his verse, quhilk I haue set doun in reulis, as efter followis.
1644   Articles Surrender City of Yorke sig. A2   The said Sir Thomas, as Governour of the said Citie, shall surrender and deliver up the same,..upon the condition after written.
1794   T. Maurice Indian Antiq. IV. 260   Immediately after follows a passage, in which the three Persons in the divine essence are expressly pointed out by appellations.
1829   H. Grant Pract. High Court Chancery (ed. 2) I. lv. 266   As is after stated, a general report must first be confirmed nisi, when objections have been carried in.
1908   A. Robinson Law Relating to Income Tax (ed. 2) 382 (margin)    Annual value to be ascertained by this rule, except as after stated.
2008   J. Doles Miracles & Manifestations of Holy Spirit in Hist. Church viii. 176/1   Shortly after follows the account of what the Ancients felt.

eOE—2008(Hide quotations)

 B. prep.In Old English with dative or (rarely) accusative.
 I. Senses relating to place or position.

 a. In collocation with verbs of motion. To the rear of, behind (a person or thing); following.In quot. 1594   with verb implied.

OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 2nd Ser. (Cambr. Gg.3.28) xii. 113   Eft swa hraðe swa þæt wolcn styrode, swa siðode samtinges eal seo fyrd æfter ðam wolcne.
OE   West Saxon Gospels: Luke (Corpus Cambr.) ix. 23   Gyf hwa wyle æfter me cuman, ætsace hine sylfne & nime his cwylminge & me folgige.
lOE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough contin.) anno 1128   Þa for mid him & æfter him swa micel folc swa næfre ær ne dide.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 5 (MED)   Al þe hebreisce folc þe eode efter him and biuoren him.
c1325  (c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) 8207 (MED)   Roberd erl of flaundres after þulke ost com.
c1384   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) (1850) Luke xiv. 27   He that berith not his cross, and cometh aftir [L. venit post] me, may not be my disciple.
c1425   J. Lydgate Troyyes Bk. (Augustus A.iv) i. l. 1312 (MED)   Iason is come..And after him foloweth al þe pres.
c1460  (?c1400)    Tale of Beryn l. 1589   Our four Shippis, [þt] aftir vs doith dryve.
1526   Bible (Tyndale) Luke xiv. f. cj   Come after me.
1594   W. Shakespeare Henry VI, Pt. 2 v. v. 32   Shall we after them? After them, nay before them if we can.
1625   G. Markham Souldiers Accidence 61   Tucquet, or March..Commands nothing but Marching after the Leader.
1653   T. Urquhart tr. F. Rabelais 1st Bk. Wks. xxxiv. 155   The rest of his traine came after him.
1707   London Gaz. mmmmcccxxxiii/7   After whom rode on Horse-back a Courier of the Republick.
1756   D. Hume Let. 20 Apr. (1932) I. 232   Alas! you are going down hill, and I am tumbling fast after you.
1816   J. Wilson City of Plague i. ii. 271   That merciless ghost that walks the sea After our ship for ever.
c1840   J. S. Knowles Virgin i. i   The people will throng after him with shouts.
1916   J. Joyce Portrait of Artist i. 14   The bell rang for night prayers and he filed out of the study hall after the others.
1999   C. Nolan Banyan Tree (2000) xv. 49   The men moved off, he traipsing after them.

OE—1999(Hide quotations)


 b. Of the position of something at rest (chiefly in relation to a person or thing in motion): behind, to the rear of; following. Now frequently Irish English.

OE   tr. Felix St. Guthlac (Vesp.) (1909) xi. 144   He þa se eadiga wer Guthlac acsode hi, hwæðer hi ænig þinc æfter heom on þam scipe forleton.
lOE   Homily: Evangelium de Virginibus (Corpus Cambr. 303) in H. L. C. Tristram Vier Altenglische Predigten aus der Heterodoxen Trad. (Ph.D. diss., Freiburg) (1970) 440   Se brydgume..genam þa fif snotere mædena mid him in to his brydbure and beleac þa duru æfter heom.
c1300   St. Edmund Rich (Laud) l. 428 in C. Horstmann Early S.-Eng. Legendary (1887) 443 (MED)   Make faste þe dore aftur þe and ne lat þou no man in gon.
c1380   Sir Ferumbras (1879) 2776 (MED)   Spedilich in þey wente & After hymen made þe gate faste.
a1450   York Plays (1885) 394 (MED)   Leffe noght my saule, lorde, aftir þe, In depe helle.
c1475  (?c1400)    Apol. Lollard Doctr. (1842) 57   Go o bak after me, Sathanas.
1484   W. Caxton tr. G. de la Tour-Landry Bk. Knight of Tower (1971) Prol. 12   Suche ther be that lawgheth to fore yow, whiche after youre back goo mockyng.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Judges iii. 23   Ehud..put to ye dore after him, and lockte it.
1570   J. Foxe Actes & Monumentes (rev. ed.) II. 1357/1   I was the page to a footeman, carying after him his pyke and burganet.
a1727   I. Newton Opticks (1730) i. i. 31   Sometimes I placed a third Prism after the second, and sometimes also a fourth after the third.
1764   H. Walpole Castle of Otranto i. 29   Shut the trap-door after you.
1849   Rural Repository 4 Aug. 178/3   Be particular to hasp the gate after you when you go out.
1885   Cent. Mag. July 373/1   Lapham followed him to close the street-door after him.
1938   Times 6 Jan. 9/4   She went out and closed the door after her, and called the police.
2001   J. McGowan Echoes Savage Land (2006) ix. 305   He was taking the horse out of the cart..when he realised that he left the cart-cover after him.

OE—2001(Hide quotations)


 c. colloquial. With verbs of cleaning or making orderly: consequent upon the actions of (a person or animal).Now chiefly following phrasal verbs with up, as to clean up, to tidy up, etc.See also to pick up 11 at pick v.1 Phrasal verbs 1.

1741   H. Fielding in Daily Gazetteer 30 Mar. 1/1   Both of us had need of a hundred Hands, and nothing else to do but to..run and go, and tend and clean after him.
1782   F. Burney Cecilia V. ix. vi. 125   One's dirt enough of one's own, without taking people out of the streets to help one. Who do you think's to clean after you?
1852   Daily News 19 Jan. 6/3   She refused to clean up after the cats.
1863   Mrs. H. Wood Verner's Pride III. xxxvii. 252   Messing the floor and places with your powder and stuff! It would take two servants to clear up after you.
1895   Home Notes 7 Dec. 299/1   The mother who instils this in her little ones certainly spares herself the constant fatigue..of perpetually tidying after her nearly grown-up daughters.
1953   A. Baron Human Kind xxiv. 178   This battalion came all the way from Africa, two thousand miles of bloody misery.., and what for? To clean their crap up after them!
1990   P. Cornwell Postmortem i. 8   Maybe he wiped up after himself to make sure he didn't leave footprints on the john or floor.
2008   Wicklow People (Ireland) (Nexis) 24 Sept.   Free pooper scoopers have been provided..but many dog owners continue to ignore pleas to tidy up after their pet.

1741—2008(Hide quotations)


 a. Following the course of (anything extended in space); along (a linear dimension); across or away over (an extended surface). In early use also: †through or throughout (a place) (obsolete). English regional (chiefly south-western) in later use. Now rare.

eOE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Parker) anno 878   He lytle werede unieþelice æfter wudum for & on morfæstenum.
OE   Andreas (1932) 581   Sealde he dumbum gesprec, deafe gehyrdon,..æfter burhstedum blinde gesegon.
OE   Beowulf (2008) 1425   Gesawon ða æfter wætere wyrmcynnes fela, sellice sædracan sund cunnian.
lOE   Royal Charter: Eadred to Ælfsige Hunlafing (Sawyer 566) in A. J. Robertson Anglo-Saxon Charters (1956) 56   On Earninga stræte æt þam stapelan, & þonne norþ æfter strate to þere dic, On Ceastertuninga gemærie.
a1225  (?c1175)    Poema Morale (Egerton) 231 in J. Zupitza & J. Schipper Alt- u. Mitteleng. Übungsbuch (1904) 87 (MED)   Þer is wanunge end wop efter eche strete.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 6874   Swa quiddeden..al þat verden æfter wæi [c1300 Otho bi þan wai].
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 11547   [Bruttes] fluȝen after þere sæ.
a1400   Siege Jerusalem (Laud) (1932) l. 482   Þis faiþles folke to þe feld comen, & batayled after þe bent.
?a1425   tr. Guy de Chauliac Grande Chirurgie (N.Y. Acad. Med.) f. 157v (MED)   Þai ar a maner blacke wormes..wiþ citrine and ȝelow lynez after þaire backe.
c1540  (?a1400)    Gest Historiale Destr. Troy 12557   After a syde of the sea..Was a-party a prouynse, plight full of hilles.
1865   J. Earle in Two Saxon Chron. 305   In Somersetshire they still say, going along ‘after the wall’, ‘after the stream’ to signify following the line of.
1890   J. D. Robertson Gloss. Words County of Gloucester 2   Go athirt that ere ground, and you'll find the path after the hedge.

eOE—1890(Hide quotations)


b. Along the surface of, close to. Obsolete. rare.

OE   Old Eng. Martyrol. (Julius) 22 Sept. 215   Ða het [se casere] hy gemartyrian þæt heora þæt halige blod orn æfter eorðan swa swa flod.
?1523   J. Fitzherbert Bk. Husbandry sig. C.iiii   Hey cometh of a grasse called crofote and groweth flat after the erth.

OE—?1523(Hide quotations)


 a. In pursuit of, following with the intent to catch (a person or thing in motion); in the direction of. Also with elision of verb of motion.

OE   Old Eng. Hexateuch: Gen. (Claud.) xxxi. 36   For hwylcum gylte ferdest ðu þus æfter me [L. exarsisti post me] & towurpe eall min innorf?
c1230  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Corpus Cambr.) (1962) 100   Vre wiðeriwines..up o þe hulles ha clumben efter us.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 11154   Gillomar þe king flah & awæwardes teh and Arður him after, and þene king ikahte.
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Bodl. 959) (1965) Judith ix. 6   After þi seruauntys þei runnyn armed trostinge in þer foure horsid cartis.
a1438   Bk. Margery Kempe (1940) i. 50 (MED)   I haue ronnyn a-wey fro þe, & þow hast ronnyn aftyr me.
1487  (a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (St. John's Cambr.) v. 511   Eftir [1489 Adv. efter] hym in hy he sent.
a1500  (a1460)    Towneley Plays (1994) I. viii. 83 (MED)   Pharao..will shape vs to sheynd, And after vs send his garray.
1576   G. Pettie Petite Pallace vii. 134   She..leapt into the sea to swim after him as hee sayled away.
1611   Bible (King James) 1 Sam. xxiv. 14   After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? After a dead dogge, after a flea.  
1627   R. Sanderson Ten Serm. 177   He must after them, and smite them, and plucke the spoyle out of their teeth.
1663   Brief Acc. Turks Late Exped. 21   There followed into the Town a great Body of Tartars after these scouting Troupers.
1708   London Gaz. mmmmccccxix/5   They stand from us, and we after them with all the Sail we can.
1764   A. Stephen Let. 16 Apr. in H. Bouquet Papers (1942) Ser. 21650 1st Pt. 104   Several Parties of Indians are down in Hampshire, but I have a Number of Chosen Rifflemen on the hunt after them.
1804   J. Farington Diary 8 July (1923) II. lxxi. 265   He fancied that she sent persons after Him to drug his victuals.
1861   G. H. Kingsley in F. Galton Vacation Tourists & Trav. 1860 iv. 128   He only succeeded in gaining the descent of the hill..before another, a male or dog wolf, was noticed in full chase after him.
1869   ‘M. Twain’ Innocents Abroad v. 51   If we were ever to get after it [sc. a little fort] with one of our turreted monitors they would have to move it out in the country.
1947   Sporting Mirror 7 Nov. 9/1   Tunstall, United forward, raced after a long pass from his right half.
1988   A. Tyler Breathing Lessons i. i. 26   Ira would get after her for refolding it wrong.
2004   G. W. Warner Clue in Corn Maze x. 115   The person dashed into the maze. ‘Quick! After him!’ Henry cried.

OE—2004(Hide quotations)


 b. In search of, in order to find or get (a person or thing at rest). Frequently with come, go, and send.

OE   Old Eng. Hexateuch: Deut. (Claud.) vi. 14   Ne far ðu æfter fremdum godum [L. non ibitis post deos alienos].
OE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Tiber. B.iv) anno 1061   Her for Ealdred biscop to Rome æfter his pallium.
lOE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough contin.) anno 1123   He com æfter þe Romescot.
?a1160   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough contin.) anno 1132   Þe king sende efter him.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 7 (MED)   God almihti sende his apostles..efter þe assa fole.
c1300   Havelok (Laud) (1868) 137 (MED)   He sende writes..After his erles euere-ich on.
c1330   Seven Sages (Auch.) (1933) l. 1892 (MED)   He send his sond After alle þe wise men of his lond, And tolde hem alle his greuaunce.
c1405  (c1387–95)    G. Chaucer Canterbury Tales Prol. (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 136   Ful semely after hir mete she raghte.
c1410  (c1350)    Gamelyn (Harl. 7334) 614 (MED)   The scherreue..sent after a leche.
a1500  (?a1400)    Sir Torrent of Portyngale (1887) l. 499 (MED)   Hys squyeres bode he there, Aftyr hys armor for to far.
?1515   Hyckescorner (de Worde) sig. C.iv   Huffe huffe huffe who sent after me I am Imagynacyon full of Iolyte.
1611   Bible (King James) Deut. vi. 14   Yee shall not goe after other gods.  
1698   W. Bates Acct. Life & Death of Philip Henry x. 227   Rejoycing in hope of the Glory of God, which we are reaching after, and pressing towards.
1741   S. Richardson Pamela III. xxx. 201   There is nobody comes after her: She receives no Letters.
1755   T. Smollett tr. M. de Cervantes Don Quixote II. ii. ii. 115   The company not being willing to wait for the scrivener, who was gone after the foil.
1803   in D. Knox Naval Documents U.S. Wars Barbary Powers (1941) III. 273   The cutter was sent after sand and holy stones.
1876   E. A. Freeman Hist. Norman Conquest II. x. 462   The new Metropolitan went to Rome after his pallium.
1909   M. J. Cawein Giant & Star 86   Old Sis Snow..Sticks her long white fingers through Every crack and cranny too, Reaching after me and you.
1978   Texas Monthly Jan. 62/2   The officer contends that Mendoza came after him with a knife.
2000   A. Huebner Amer. by Blood 84   I hear they went and stuck his head in the latrine, sent him after a flask someone'd dropped.

OE—2000(Hide quotations)

 4. Indicating the aim or object of many verbs, adjectives, and nouns of action. Cf. to be after at Phrases 5.

 a. With verbs, adjectives, and nouns of desire, as long, hanker, hunger, thirst, eager, greedy, hankering, etc.: for the acquisition or gain of.

OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 1st Ser. (Royal) (1997) xxxvi. 493   Se bið ofhingrod & ofþyrst æfter rihtwisnysse, se þe godes beboda lustlice gehyrð.
OE   Beowulf (2008) 1879   He þone breostwylm forberan ne mehte, ac him on hreþre hygebendum fæst æfter deorum men dyrne langað beorn [perh. read born] wið blode.
c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 2966   To ȝeornenn affterr weorelld þing.
a1250   Ureisun ure Louerde (Nero) in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 200 (MED)   Heo..wilned efter cumfort on eorðe.
c1300   St. Vincent (Laud) l. 169 in C. Horstmann Early S.-Eng. Legendary (1887) 189   Seint Vincent..longuede after reste.
a1375  (c1350)    William of Palerne (1867) l. 59 (MED)   Appeles & alle þinges þat childern after wilnen.
?c1400  (c1380)    G. Chaucer tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (BL Add. 10340) (1868) ii. pr. v. l. 1311   For hys wickednesse þe more gredy aftir oþer folkes rycchesse.
c1410  (c1350)    Gamelyn (Harl. 7334) 636 (MED)   He was sore alonged after a good meel.
a1500  (c1400)    St. Erkenwald (1977) l. 304 (MED)   Þat solempne fest, Þer richely hit arne refetyd þat after right hungride.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) Psalms xlii. 1   Like as the hert desyreth [1611 panteth after] the water brokes, So longeth my soule after the, o God.
a1625   J. Boys Wks. (1629) 400   People, who being Crop-sicke, doe not hunger after the righteousnesse of Gods kingdome.
1642   D. Rogers Naaman 479   An ardent affection after it, as one that is famished.
1709   R. Steele Tatler 18 Apr. 18   Will. Ubi, who is so thirsty after the Reputation of a Companion.
1767   tr. D. Cranz Hist. Greenland II. ix. vi. 281   The Greenlandish women are wont to be much more eager after the gospel than their husbands.
1796   J. Morse Amer. Universal Geogr. (new ed.) I. 301   A prevailing desire after a peaceable accommodation.
1800   S. T. Coleridge tr. F. Schiller Death Wallenstein ii. iii. 44   Because I Endeavour'd after peace, therefore I fall.
1842   T. B. Macaulay Ess. (1848) II. 144   He was greedy after power with a greediness all his own.
1853   W. M. Thackeray Newcomes (1854) I. v. 52   This brave man thought ever of his absent child, and longed after him.
1897   ‘Ouida’ Massarenes xxxix. 477   You are as keen after gold as a stoat after poultry.
1926   J. Devanny Butcher Shop xxi. 265   Miette wanted him, but not crazily, as she still hungered after the Maori.
2007   S. Worboyes Lipstick & Powder iii. 72   He had always hankered after a place in the country.

OE—2007(Hide quotations)


 b. With verbs, adjectives, and nouns of seeking or desiring information, as ask, enquire, etc.: for information about; for news of.

OE   Beowulf (2008) 331   Wlonc hæleð oretmecgas æfter hæleþum [read æþelum] frægn.
OE   tr. Apollonius of Tyre (1958) xiv. 20   Se iunga man þe þu æfter axsodest is forliden man.
c1225  (?c1200)    St. Margaret (Bodl.) (1934) 38 (MED)   Cuð me & ken þet ich easki efter.
c1275  (?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 8489   Þe king..bad æuerælcne mon axien after Mærlin.
c1330  (?c1300)    Amis & Amiloun (Auch.) (1937) 679 (MED)   After his douhter he asked swiþe.
c1400  (c1378)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Laud 581) (1869) B. v. l. 543   I seygh neuere palmere..Axen after hym.
a1438   Bk. Margery Kempe (1940) i. 96 (MED)   Þer was comyn a preste..speryng & inqwyryng diligently aftyr þe seyd creatur.
1489  (a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (Adv.) ii. l. 55   His men eftir him askit thai.
a1500  (a1450)    Partonope of Blois (BL Add.) (1912) l. 608 (MED)   A-none hym axed thys worthy kynge After hys Neuowe, Partonope.
1589   W. Warner Pan his Syrinx xxvii. sig. M   Not omitting to enquire after those in Quest of whome they thus sailed.
1611   Bible (King James) Deut. xii. 30   That thou enquire not after their gods.  
1670   F. Vernon Let. 14 Dec. in H. Oldenburg Corr. (1970) VII. 323   The Italians are not very Curious after Sciences.
1675   I. Newton Let. 30 Nov. (1959) I. 359   An ancient Gentleman I met..being thick of hearing desired me to inquire after ye form of Mr Mace's Otocousticon.
1745   E. Haywood Female Spectator I. vi. 370   She assured her that the Child she enquired after was alive, and a fine Boy.
1751   S. Johnson Rambler No. 146. 193   He..is sometimes provoked by importunate inquiries after the white bear.
1775   R. B. Sheridan Rivals ii. i   I told him you had sent me to inquire after his health.
1822   Ld. Byron Werner iii. i   Asking after you With nobly-born impatience.
1869   Atlantic Monthly Jan. 87/2   England was satisfied with iron from Sweden without being impertinently inquisitive after her painters and statuaries.
1888   J. W. Burgon Lives Twelve Good Men I. i. 69   He inquired after my standing in the University.
1915   C. S. Churchill Let. 15 Dec. in W. S. Churchill & C. S. Churchill Speaking for Themselves (1999) vi. 134   The P.M. snuffled & asked after you & asked if you were happy.
1951   Pop. Sci. Sept. 240/2   You omit to ask after the health of his aged mother.
2006   Courier Mail (Austral.) (Nexis) 29 Dec. 20   I got on the phone and rang three other couples who have seven or eight kids and inquired after their health.

OE—2006(Hide quotations)

 c. With verbs of hailing or calling, as call, shout, whistle, etc.

 (a) So as to attract the attention of (a person moving away from the subject); in the direction of (a departing person).

OE   Ælfric Old Test. Summary: Kings (Julius) in W. W. Skeat Ælfric's Lives of Saints (1881) I. 402   Þa geseah Heliseus hu he siðode up, and clypode hlude æfter his lareowe þus: ‘Pater mi.’
c1400  (?c1380)    Cleanness (1920) l. 770   As he loked along þere as oure Lorde passed, ȝet he cryed hym after.
1600   R. Surflet tr. C. Estienne & J. Liébault Maison Rustique i. xxv. 158   He must whoop and whistle after them, threatning them with his sheepe-crooke.
1684   J. Bunyan Pilgrim's Progress 2nd Pt. 205   Mr. Great-heart called after him, saying, so-ho, Friend, let us have your Company.  
1709   R. Steele Tatler No. 59 (1806) II. 87   They never call after those who run away from them.
1766   O. Goldsmith Vicar of Wakefield I. iv. 39   The very children..will hoot after us.
1841   C. Dickens Barnaby Rudge xxxv. 140   A set of ragamuffins comes a shouting after us ‘Gordon for ever!’
1891   F. T. Elworthy 12th Rep. Comm. Devonshire Verbal Provincialisms 132   These lines used to be shouted after the children who did not come to school in time.
1936   C. Woolrich in Detective Fiction Weekly 4 July 13/1   ‘Bon voyage!’ the concierge yelled after him.
2004   L. Desoto Blade of Grass lvi. 383   ‘Watch out for snakes,’ he calls after her as she moves out of sight.

OE—2004(Hide quotations)


 (b) In order to get; with the hope or intention of acquiring or obtaining. Now rare.With quot. ?1518   cf. the note at whistle v. 1.

c1225  (?c1200)    St. Juliana (Bodl.) l. 419 (MED)   Ha..ȝeornliche ȝeiȝeð efter godes grace to help & to heale.
?a1300  (c1250)    Prov. Hendyng (Digby) xiv, in Anglia (1881) 4 193 (MED)   After help longe he may calle.
c1330   Sir Degare (Auch.) 238 in W. H. French & C. B. Hale Middle Eng. Metrical Romances (1930) 295 (MED)   Þe litel child þai herde crie, And clepede after help on hie.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Trin. Cambr.) l. 17842 (MED)   Anoon þei calde aftir parchemyne [Vesp. badd..giue þaim parchemin].
c1425   J. Lydgate Troyyes Bk. (Augustus A.iv) iv. l. 6832 (MED)   Goddes..After whos helpe now I clepe & calle.
?1518   Cocke Lorelles Bote sig. C.jv   Some stered at the helme behynde Some whysteled after the wynde.
1578   J. Rolland Seuin Seages 7   Sa on the morne he cryit efter his clais.
1603   H. Clapham Three Partes Salomon Song of Songs Expounded iii. iii. 149   How well may the Gentiles seede..cry after a freedome..from the rudiments of the world.
1959   Listener 10 Dec. 1034/1   For a long time now it has been fashionable to cry after new ‘textures’ in sound.

c1225—1959(Hide quotations)


d. With verbs of seeing or observing, as behold, aspy, etc.: in the direction of; in order to see. Obsolete.Recorded earliest (and in later use only) in to look after —— 1 at look v. Phrasal verbs 2.

OE   Blickling Homilies 121   Þa hie þa in þone heofon locodan æfter him, & hie Drihten gesawon upastigendne.
c1300  (?c1225)    King Horn (Cambr.) (1901) l. 1093 (MED)   Aþulf was in þe ture Abute, for to pure After his comynge.
c1400  (?a1387)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Huntington HM 137) (1873) C. i. l. 14 (MED)   Esteward ich byhulde after þe sonne [c1390 A text an-heiȝ to þe sonne].
?a1475   Ludus Coventriae (1922) 43 (MED)   Fly fforth, þou fayr dove, ovyr þese waterys wete and aspye afftere sum drye lond.

OE—?a1475(Hide quotations)


e. With verbs of waiting or remaining, as abide, stand, wait, etc.: in expectation of; in wait for. Obsolete.

c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 6507   All þatt ȝer herode king Bad affterr þeȝȝre come. To witenn ȝiff þeȝȝ haffdenn crist.
c1325  (c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) 7563 (MED)   After betere wind hii moste þere at stonde.
c1400  (?a1387)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Huntington HM 137) (1873) C. ii. l. 124 (MED)   He was [read Hewes] in þe halyday after heten wayten.
c1425   J. Lydgate Troyyes Bk. (Augustus A.iv) i. l. 2739 (MED)   Sche so longe abood after hir knyȝt.
a1500   Craft of Dying (Rawl.) in C. Horstmann Yorkshire Writers (1896) II. 408 (MED)   His welbelouyd & trusti frende..þat he had lon[g] abyd and lokid after [v.r. fore].
1515   Festyvall (W. de Worde) 79 b   The abbot..stode under a pyler and abode after Thomas.

c1175—1515(Hide quotations)


 f. With verbs, adjectives, and nouns of searching, as search, hunt, etc.: in order to find (something lost, hidden, or not in one's possession).Recorded earliest in to seek after at seek v. 15.

c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 6273   & all forrwerrp þu towarrd himm. To sekenn affterr wræche.
c1400  (c1378)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Laud 581) (1869) B. xii. l. 217 (MED)   And so I sey by þe þat sekest after þe whyes.
1566   J. Martiall Treat. Crosse ii. 6   Ægernesse in searching after bokes, and trouble in seeking after non communicants.
1600   W. Shakespeare Henry IV, Pt. 2 i. i. 29   My seruant Trauers who I sent..to listen after newes.  
a1616   W. Shakespeare Two Gentlemen of Verona (1623) i. i. 63   He after Honour hunts, I after Loue.  
1670   E. Browne Let. 30 May in H. Oldenburg Corr. (1970) VII. 19   They still report of searching after silver in these partes.
1707   J. Dunton Bumography p. xiii   She is Courteous and Sociable to her Neighbours, but scorns to go a hunting after Gossipings.
1751   S. Johnson Rambler No. 144. ⁋11   This impartial and zealous enquirer after truth.
1838   T. F. Dibdin Bibliogr. Antiquarian & Picturesque Tour Northern Counties Eng. I. 128   I did not leave Doncaster..without a rummage after a Polyglot Bible in the Parochial Library.
1892   E. S. Brookes Frontier Life xiv. 130   At one time Von Rotter..became smitten with the gold fever, spending his holidays in fossicking after the precious metal.
1937   Discovery Mar. 94/1   The genuine alchemist was an earnest searcher after truth.
2007   E. J. Wood et al. Beyond Survival vii. 143   Following up one good source may lead the user..back to the library catalog to forage after additional call numbers.

c1175—2007(Hide quotations)

 II. Senses relating to time.

 a. Following in the succession of time; in succession to.

OE   Vercelli Homilies (1992) ii. 64   Þær..ne næfre dæg ne cymeð æfter dæge, ne niht æfter nihte.
OE   West Saxon Gospels: John (Corpus Cambr.) i. 30   Æfter me cymð wer þe me beforan geworden wæs.
lOE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough interpolation) anno 686   Heo wæs se þridde abbot æfter Saxulfe.
c1325  (c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) 1383 (MED)   Þis kimbel after is fader king was of þis londe.
a1375  (c1350)    William of Palerne (1867) l. 1445 (MED)   He has a sone dere..þat schal be emperour after him.
a1413  (c1385)    G. Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde (Pierpont Morgan) (1882) iv. l. 421   Al so seur as day cometh after nyght.
?a1475   Ludus Coventriae (1922) 35 (MED)   Afftyr Adam..þe secunde fadyr am I.
a1500   J. Mirk's Festial (Harl. 2247) (1981) 66 (MED)   This made Adam in his testament to euery Cristen creature þat shuld be born of woman after hym.
1599   A. M. tr. O. Gaebelkhover Bk. Physicke 9/1   Doe this the continuance of 9 dayes after other, every morning.
1620   T. Venner Via Recta vii. 115   They are not good to be taken after meat.
a1631   J. Donne Serm. (1954) VII. 387   That King, that comes after a good Predecessour, hath a shrewd burthen upon him.
1701   J. Prince Danmonii Orientales Illustres 338   He left..a Widow..to Turtle it after him, as he had done before.
1745   W. Harris Let. 10 Dec. in Earl of Malmesbury Lett. (1870) I. 21   By leaving what he had in money, the scramble might be made the easier among those that came after him.
1849   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. 262   And what was it to him who ruled after him?
1858   Times 19 Nov. 5/5   One witness after another had proved that the General Company put on omnibuses wherever they had any.
1918   W. Cather My Ántonia iv. iii. 346   The windy springs and the blazing summers, one after another, had enriched and mellowed that flat tableland.
2004   Which? Aug. 28/1   So what comes after MP3? Why, MP4 of course.

OE—2004(Hide quotations)


 b. In phrases indicating something happening continuously or repeatedly, as hour after hour, man after man, night after night, etc.See also day after day at day n. Phrases 2a, time after time at time n., int., and conj. Phrases 1i(a), word after word at word n. and int. Phrases 2a(a), year after year at year n. Phrases 2d.

c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 620   O þatt illke wise comm. Aȝȝ dækenn affterr dækenn.
a1225   MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 75 (MED)   Ic ou wile seggen word efter word.
1674   R. Strange Life S. Thomas Cantilupe xxiii. 293   And soe strophe after strophe till the hymne was ended.
1798   S. T. Coleridge Anc. Marinere ii, in W. Wordsworth & S. T. Coleridge Lyrical Ballads 13   Day after day, day after day, We stuck, ne breath ne motion.
1816   Monthly Mag. May 367/2   Man after man is ruined, family after family is swallowed up.
1866   G. A. Sala Trip to Barbary 93   In front of the Grand Hotel gather group after group.
1893   B. Harraden Ships that Pass i. vii   ‘It seems so little to ask,’ she cried to herself time after time.
1943   W. Stegner Big Rock Candy Mountain i. 23   Mile after mile, hour after hour..past windmills and discouraged plantings of saplings.

c1175—1943(Hide quotations)


 a. Subsequent to, following the interval of, at the conclusion of (a period of time).

eOE   tr. Orosius Hist. (BL Add.) (1980) i. x. 29   Hie ðær æfter hrædlice tide from þæm londleodum þurh seara ofslægene wurdon.
OE   West Saxon Gospels: Matt. (Corpus Cambr.) xxvii. 63   Æfter þrym dagon ic arise.
c1175  (▸OE)    Homily (Bodl. 343) in S. Irvine Old Eng. Homilies (1993) 168   Crist ‘æfter six daȝum’ [L. post dies sex] fulde þæt he his þeinum bihet.
a1425  (c1395)    Bible (Wycliffite, L.V.) (Royal) (1850) Gen. xl. 19   Thre panyeris ben ȝit thre daies, aftir whiche Farao schal take awei thin heed.
1489  (a1380)    J. Barbour Bruce (Adv.) i. 40   The land..Lay desolat eftyr hys day.
a1500  (?c1425)    Speculum Sacerdotale (1936) 171 (MED)   It happened after the space of þe xxx yere.
1582   Bible (Rheims) Gal. ii. 1   Then after fourtene yeres I went vp againe to Hierusalem.
1625   J. Hart Anat. Urines ii. v. 80   After a while she fell into a night feauer.
1651   J. French Art Distillation v. 109   They will after a time contract a mucilaginous slimie matter.
1743   T. Jones in Buccleuch MSS (Hist. MSS Comm.) (1899) I. 402   After 24 hours' waiting, the troops were obliged to retire.
1790   J. Adams Mod. Voy. II. lxxvi. 45   They were to meet again after a short absence.
1835   J. E. Alexander Sketches in Portugal xi. 265   After some delay before we could get our yellow quarantine-flag struck, we were allowed to land.
1877   L. P. Brockett Cross & Crescent 185   After ages of submission, they became restless and rebellious.
1937   Life 13 Sept. 39/3 (caption)    After eight hours of boiling in 3,000° F., the steel is ready to be tapped into the big ladle.
2001   A. Sayle Dog Catcher 7   After a while the barman came over.

eOE—2001(Hide quotations)


 b. Subsequent to or later than (an event or point in time).

eOE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Parker) anno 773   Her oþiewde read Cristesmęl on hefenum æfter sunnan setlgonge.
lOE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough contin.) anno 1130   Ðes ilces geares com se abbot Heanri of Angeli æfter Æsterne to Burch.
a1200   MS Trin. Cambr. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1873) 2nd Ser. 47   On þe ehteðe dai efter his burþe.
?a1200  (?OE)    Peri Didaxeon (1896) 3   After Noes flode ymba wintra a þusund and fif hund wintra.
c1325  (c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) 8422 (MED)   Anon after midsomer þis bataile ido was.
a1375  (c1350)    William of Palerne (1867) l. 77 (MED)   Þe child schuld weld al here godis..after here lif dawes.
c1405  (c1385)    G. Chaucer Knight's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 609   Soone after the mydnyght.
c1440  (?c1350)    in G. G. Perry Relig. Pieces in Prose & Verse (1914) 26 (MED)   Eftire þis sall þou wiete, whilke ere þe ten comandementis.
1485   Malory's Morte Darthur (Caxton) i. viii. sig. avi   After the deth of the duke more than thre houres was Arthur begoten.
a1500  (?c1425)    Speculum Sacerdotale (1936) 159   They schette hem in a cenakle or a sowpynge place vnto þe xi day after þe ascension in fastyngis and prayingis.
1577   R. Holinshed Hist. Scotl. 407/2 in Chron. I   Adrian ye Bishop of Romes Legate came too late, as who shuld say, a day after ye fayre.
1588   A. King tr. P. Canisius Cathechisme or Schort Instr. 14   Æternal lyffe..for ye chosin eftir deathe.
1605   F. Bacon Of Aduancem. Learning ii. sig. Bb3   The Narration may bee before the fact, aswell as after .  
1640   in J. Nicholson Minute Bk. War Comm. Covenanters Kirkcudbright 24 Nov. (1855) 98   Four dayes efter your receipt heirof.
1728   in G. Lamoine Charges to Grand Jury (1992) 261   Others, whose Attainders, soon after the Revolution, were reversed by Parliament.
1769   R. Wood Ess. Homer 60   It is allowed on all hands, that Prose writing was unknown in Greece, till long after the Poet's time.
1832   H. Martineau Hill & Valley viii. 124   It was long after dark.
1870   Ld. Tennyson Golden Supper in Holy Grail 171   The eleventh moon After their marriage.
1915   Act 5 & 6 Geo. V c.89 §38   In any accounting period which ended after the fourth day of August nineteen hundred and fourteen.
1977   O. Schell China (1978) iii. 267   After the robbery, I get decked by an incensed worker.
2008   D. Lodge Deaf Sentence (2009) ii. 16   After my test I saw the ENT consultant.

eOE—2008(Hide quotations)


 c. In stating the time of day: so many minutes, or a quarter or half of an hour, past a particular hour. In later use also with elision of the hour. Cf. half adv.. Now chiefly North American.

a1500   in T. Wright & J. O. Halliwell Reliquiæ Antiquæ (1845) I. 319 (MED)   The xix day of April, the sonne aryseth iij quarteres after iiij, and gooth downe a quartere after vij.
1519   in J. Raine Fabric Rolls York Minster (1859) 269   Prime bell to seice a quarter after ix.
?1597   J. Blagrave Apol. & Addition to Vranicall Astrolabe sig. B   There shal the nooneline shew you in the hower circle almost a quarter after 6 of the clock, the time of son rising that day.
1699   G. Garden Apol. Antonia Bourignon iv. xxxvi. 284   They learn'd to read and write till half after Six.
1732   B. Lynde Diary 31 Mar. in B. Lynde & B. Lynde Diaries (1880) 24   a.m. ½ after 5 I went with son's horse.
1774   P. V. Fithian Jrnl. & Lett. (1900) 271   I..rode thence to Westmoreland Court House ten Miles by half after six.
1775   in Essex Inst. Hist. Coll. (1912) XLVIII. 52   We was preaded [i.e. paraded] about half after two in the morning.
1809   M. Edgeworth Madame de Fleury i, in Tales Fashionable Life II. 167   It was now half after four.
1853   C. Dickens Bleak House xlix. 472   ‘At half-after one.’ Says Mr. Bagnet. ‘To the minute. They'll be done.’
1905   N.Y. Evening Post 27 Jan. 3   About half after twelve the roof of the building fell in with a crash.
1961   A. Miller Misfits i. 13   ‘It's twenty after nine.’ ‘After!’ Isabelle comes farther out on the porch and calls up to a second-floor window: ‘Dear girl? It's twenty after!’
2008   L. Barclay Too Close to Home xxxvii. 344   I went to Kelly's at nine, not knowing whether he'd show up... But about five after, he came in.

a1500—2008(Hide quotations)


 a. In consequence of, as a result of, in the light of (a preceding action or event).

OE   Beowulf (2008) 1606   Þa þæt sweord ongan æfter heaþoswate hildegicelum..wanian.
?c1335   in W. Heuser Kildare-Gedichte (1904) 124   Sum þer beþ..Þat more haþ þan anoþer... Anoþer wol after þan Areri cuntake.
1477   W. Caxton tr. R. Le Fèvre Hist. Jason (1913) 47   After that I vnderstonde by your wordes ye haue sent him from you.
1554   in Bannatyne Misc. (1855) III. 77   Efter the obite of Erile Halcon succedit Erile Rolland.
1609   S. Daniel Civile Wares (rev. ed.) viii. xciv. 227   Sit downe, And rest you, after all this passed thrall.
1677   T. Baker Let. 15 June in S. P. Rigaud & S. J. Rigaud Corr. Sci. Men 17th Cent. (1841) (modernized text) II. 29   If after the perusal it may be thought fit to have it printed, [etc.].
1722   D. Defoe Moll Flanders 165   That's not a fair Question, says I, after what you have said.
1753   J. Hanway Hist. Acct. Brit. Trade Caspian Sea II. xxxiii. 206   After what has been said..we may contemplate the superior charms of liberty.
1841   W. L. MacCalla Adventures in Texas 46   After such an address from a citizen of that calumniated country.., I took the liberty of withdrawing to another apartment.
1877   W. Lytteil Landmarks Sc. Life & Lang. i. iv. 34   After what has been already said, any one will readily see that [etc.].
1946   Liberty 1 June 36/2   Hasn't a guy got a right to a few snorts after what happened to me?
1998   A. Wood EastEnders (BBC TV script) (O.E.D. Archive) Episode 670. 34   I've had it with him Roy, especially after what he did to Robbie.

OE—1998(Hide quotations)


 b. In spite of, notwithstanding (a preceding action or event).

a1500  (▸1422)    J. Yonge tr. Secreta Secret. (Rawl.) (1898) 153   Aftyr all this glorie, hym befell the fowle dethe.
a1500  (?c1425)    Speculum Sacerdotale (1936) 129 (MED)   After all this þe seynt was hole and semyd as a man vnhurtyd.
1578   J. Lyly Euphues f. 30v   After all his strife he [sc. Menelaus] wan but a Strumpet.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Measure for Measure (1623) v. i. 339   Harke how the villaine would close now, after his treasonable abuses.  
1674   N. Fairfax Treat. Bulk & Selvedge 24   After all this wheeling about, we are not a step further than we were.
1710   S. Palmer Moral Ess. Prov. 69   After all our complaints of the lawyers and the law, there is no man in this kingdom too big for either.
1763   Case & Replication Legal Representatives J. Clifford 100   If justice be denied after such request, it is reasonable to arm him with power, to take satisfaction by reprize.
1809   B. H. Malkin tr. A. R. Le Sage Adventures Gil Blas III. vii. ii. 35   After this, if you do not play your cards, it is your own fault.
1877   Southern Hist. Soc. Papers 3 176   Such a rebuke to negotiation after a civil war of half this magnitude in any European nation, probably would have called down the intervention of its neighbors.
1915   J. Hay Man who Forgot viii. 83   He was wondering that she should be so friendly..toward him after his behaviour two days before.
1964   Life 10 Apr. 72/2   It was funny because, after all that, he had spelled the name wrong.
1996   H. Fielding Bridget Jones's Diary (1997) 269   I can't believe you're being so mean, darling. After all I've done for you.

a1500—1996(Hide quotations)


 c. after all (also U.S. afterall): in spite of any indications or expectations to the contrary; when all is said and done, nevertheless.

1590   E. Spenser Faerie Queene ix. 539   Yet after all, he victour did suruiue.
1690   J. Locke Ess. Humane Understanding i. iv. 35   Not that I want a due respect to other Mens Opinions; but after all, the greatest reverence is due to Truth.
1712   R. Steele Spectator No. 462. ⁋1   But after all he is very pleasant Company.
a1774   A. Tucker Light of Nature Pursued (1777) III. iv. xxix. 154   And after all perhaps we have no greater enjoyments among us than those of eating when we are hungry.
1809   W. Irving Hist. N.Y. II. vii. viii. 239   Yet after all he was a mere mortal.
1846   Ld. Tennyson in Punch 10 106/1   Surely, after all, The noblest answer unto such Is kindly silence when they brawl.
1876   E. A. Freeman Hist. Norman Conquest I. ii. 20   The Roman occupation was, after all, very superficial.
1906   Arizona Republican 10 Sept. 6/3   Fifty-three job holders were assassinated in Russia last month. After all, that is cheaper than muck-raking them out of their jobs.
1932   L. Golding Magnolia St. ii. ii. 295   Perhaps, after all, it'll be a good match. There will be a simchah.
1976   Billings (Montana) Gaz. 1 July (Advt. Suppl.)   Afterall, the movement of people, not vehicles, is what counts.
2008   J. Armstrong & S. Bain Peep Show 5th Ser. Episode 5. 312/1   It's not such a drag the fest being strictly drink- and drugs-free after all, is it?

1590—2008(Hide quotations)

 III. Senses relating to order.

 8. Next to in point of order or importance. Formerly also (in negative constructions): †with the exception of, save (obsolete).

OE   tr. Defensor Liber Scintillarum (1969) lvi. 336   Hieronimus dixit bonum est quidem post deum amare parentes ac filios : sæde god hit ys witodlice æfter Gode lufian magas & bearn.
c1175  (▸OE)    in A. O. Belfour 12th Cent. Homilies in MS Bodl. 343 (1909) 44   Æfter ðissum weccæn þa festene beoð hihtlice to lufitenne [read lufiȝenne; OE Vercelli æfter þissum gehyhtlice fylgað þa fæstenu; L. post haec congrue sequuntur ieiunia].
c1225  (?c1200)    St. Margaret (Bodl.) (1934) 30 (MED)   Ich habbe, efter Belzebub, meast monnes bone ibeon.
a1250   in C. Brown Eng. Lyrics 13th Cent. (1932) 6 (MED)   To þe one is al mi trust, efter þine leoue sune.
?a1300   Iacob & Iosep (Bodl.) (1916) l. 207 (MED)   Ich wole þe make richest man after oure kinge.
c1390   Roberd of Cisyle (Vernon) (1930) l. 23 (MED)   A strengur weorreour nas non founde, After his broþer of Cisyle.
?c1430  (c1400)    J. Wyclif Eng. Wks. (1880) 188 (MED)   No man, after crist, was holyere þan baptist.
a1475  (?a1350)    Seege Troye (Harl.) (1927) l. 830 (MED)   Agamenoun..after Euluxes Þe best knyght in his kyndom was.
a1475   Sidrak & Bokkus (Lansd.) (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Washington) (1965) l. 6648 (MED)   After mete and drinke is rest To norisshe þe body..best.
1584   J. Southern Pandora sig. B.iv   Syluer Pheb, is the after, most clare.
1601   P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World II. xxxi. vii. 416   The Tarentine salt was in old time highly commended aboue the best: after which they esteemed most, all the sea salts.
1697   J. Dryden tr. Virgil Pastorals vii, in tr. Virgil Wks. 32   Codrus after Phœbus sings the best.
1759   Mod. Part Universal Hist. IX. 508   After Guam, this is the largest, and was formerly the best peopled of all these islands.
1777   W. Jones Arcadia 105   And after Pan thy lips will grace it best.
1811   J. Black tr. A. von Humboldt Polit. Ess. New Spain III. 130   Tin..after Titanium, Scheelin and Molybdena is the oldest metal of the globe.
1864   Ld. Tennyson Enoch Arden in Enoch Arden, etc. 24   ‘I am content’ he answer'd ‘to be loved A little after Enoch.’
1903   W. L. Dawson Birds of Ohio II. 407   The Red-shouldered Buzzard is, after the Sparrow Hawk, the commonest bird of prey in the state.
1943   W. Lewis Let. 26 Jan. (1963) 343   This [sc. Canada] is after Africa the second largest gold-producing centre on the planet.
2005   S. Wales Evening Post (Nexis) 29 Dec. 13   It [sc. Cardiff] is..the city in the UK with the highest number of railway-borne commuters, after London.

OE—2005(Hide quotations)

 IV. Senses relating to manner or style.
 9. Frequently in to do after in senses B. 9b, B. 9c.

a. On the authority of, as stated by, according to (an author or text). Obsolete.

OE   Ælfric Gram. (St. John's Oxf.) 87   Æfter Donatum, þam lareowe, synd twa figura: simplex..et composita.
c1175  (▸OE)    Homily in A. O. Belfour 12th Cent. Homilies in MS Bodl. 343 (1909) 52   Þe mon þe ða synne edlæcð..is, æfter bocenæ saȝum, ilice ȝeþeawod þam hundun þe æt þæt he ær speaw.
a1225  (c1200)    Vices & Virtues (1888) 77 (MED)   After ðe hali writes, ealch miede is iteld for gauele.
c1405  (c1390)    G. Chaucer Parson's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) §410   And after the word of Seint Augustyn, it is sorwe of oother mennes wele.
?c1425   tr. Guy de Chauliac Grande Chirurgie (Paris) (1971) 74   Smale apostemes, after auicen, ben out semynges & bleynes [etc.].
1483   W. Caxton tr. J. de Voragine Golden Legende 230/4   She bad that the passyon after luke shold be redde.
1584   T. Cogan Hauen of Health vii. 28   Otes, after Galen, haue like nature as barlie.
1601   P. Holland tr. Pliny Hist. World I. vii. lvi. 188   Anacharsis the Scythian, or after some, Hyperbios the Corinthian, invented the cast of turning the roundell or globe.

OE—1601(Hide quotations)


 b. In obedience to, in compliance or harmony with, according to (a law, will, order, advice, etc.). Now archaic and rare.

OE (Northumbrian)   Lindisf. Gospels: Luke ii. 22   Impleti sunt dies purgationis eius secundum legem Mosi : gefylled wer dagas clænsunges his æfter ae [OE Rushw. æfter æ Moyses].
OE   West Saxon Gospels: Luke (Corpus Cambr.) xii. 47   Soþlice þæne þeow þe his hlafordes willan wiste & ne dyde æfter his hlafordes willan [L. non fecit secundum voluntatem eius], he biþ witnad manegum witum.
OE   Paris Psalter (1932) cxviii. 149   Gehyr mine stefne, halig drihten, æfter ðinre þære myclan mildheortnesse [L. secundum misericordiam tuam], and æfter þinum domum [L. secundum iudicium tuum] do me halne.
lOE   Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) anno 1121   Æfter þes cynges willan hi wið hine acordedan.
lOE   tr. Trinubium Sanctae Annae in W. Keller Probleme der Englischen Sprache u. Kultur (1925) 116   Æfter Cleophas deaðe, Anna æfter þære lage genam þone þridde were.
c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 120   Eȝȝþerr here ȝede swa. Rihht affterr godess lare.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 9 (MED)   Alswa hefden þe giwis heore sinagoge efter moises laȝe alswa we habbet nu chirche efter drihtenes laȝe.
c1300  (?c1225)    King Horn (Laud) (1901) l. 462 (MED)   Hy schal wite more And don after þi lore.
c1380   Sir Ferumbras (1879) l. 2891 (MED)   Wel sone dude þe Amyrel after ys counseil riȝt.
a1425  (a1400)    Prick of Conscience (Galba & Harl.) (1863) l. 47 (MED)   Alle thing he ordaynd aftir is wille.
1477   Earl Rivers tr. Dictes or Sayengis Philosophhres (Caxton) (1877) lf. 11   Whether they haue obserued it [sc. a command] after theyr charge or nat.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) 1 Chron. xxix. B   Yf he be constant to do after my commaundementes.
1535   Bible (Coverdale) John xix. 7   After our lawe he ought to dye.
1628   R. Burton Anat. Melancholy (ed. 3) iii. ii. iii. 492   To make good Musicke of their owne voices, and dance after it.
1672   F. B. Office Good House-wife 9   Let him not spare somtimes to seem to do after their advice..; For they will work with more cheerfulness, when they think that the matter is carryed according to their invention.
1698   J. Fryer New Acct. E.-India & Persia 94   At the end of their Quarentine, which is Forty days, after the Old Law, they enter the Hummums to purify.
1899   J. L. Weston tr. G. von Strassburg Story of Tristan & Iseult (1902) I. 80   Ask them what they deem good for the present need and do after their advice.

OE—1899(Hide quotations)


c. In compliance with the wishes of, at the request or command of (a person). Obsolete.

c1225  (?c1200)    Sawles Warde (Bodl.) (1938) 3 (MED)   I þis hus is þe huse lauerd, ant te fulitohe wif mei beon wil ihaten þet ga þe hus efter hire; ha diht hit al to wundre.
a1275   St. Margaret (Trin. Cambr.) l. 224 in A. S. M. Clark Seint Maregrete & Body & Soul (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Michigan) (1972) 77   Do after me ant be my wif, ne be þe þi lif so loet.
c1350   Gregorius (Cleo.) (1914) l. 150 (MED)   And þou wolle do after me, To mi court ȝeo schal beo ibrouȝt.
a1450   Castle Perseverance (1969) l. 1262   Þou art rewlyd aftyr þe fende..And noþynge certys aftyr me.
a1500  (a1450)    Generides (Trin. Cambr.) 6795 (MED)   Madame..woll ye do After me?
a1500  (a1460)    Towneley Plays (1994) I. xxii. 278   Pylate, do after vs, And dam to deth Iesus.
1592  (?a1425)    Chester Plays (BL Add.) (1843) I. 31 (MED)   Thou haste not donne after me..But donne to her byddinge.

c1225—1592(Hide quotations)


 a. In accordance with, according to (an example, manner, pattern, custom, idea, etc.).after a fashion: see fashion n. 5b. after a sort: see sort n.2 22. after the manner of: see manner n. 3a.

OE   Ælfric Catholic Homilies: 2nd Ser. (Cambr. Gg.3.28) xiv. 139   Hi æton þæt lamb æfter ðam ealdan gewunan.
c1300  (c1250)    Floris & Blauncheflur (Cambr.) (1966) l. 338   Þert icome..To makie a tur after þis cast.
a1393   J. Gower Confessio Amantis (Fairf.) iv. l. 2651 (MED)   Hou that men schal the wordes pike After the forme of eloquence.
?c1430  (c1400)    J. Wyclif Eng. Wks. (1880) 193   Ȝif prestis seyn here matynes, masse, & euensong aftir salisbury vsse.
1484   W. Caxton tr. G. de la Tour-Landry Bk. Knight of Tower (1971) cx. 147 (heading)    To be charytable after thexemplary of our lady.
a1500  (?c1425)    Speculum Sacerdotale (1936) 54 (MED)   After the custom of the kyngdom of Colayne..there is tythyng of dayes.
1577   B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach Foure Bks. Husbandry i. f. 42v   To wynnowe it after the olde fashion with the winde.
1647   T. May Hist. Parl. ii. ii. 34   Their..cause lay bleeding in Ireland after so deplorable a kinde.
1672   Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 7 5103   The Complex of the Planets, disposed and order'd..after the Copernican way.
1711   R. Steele Spectator No. 193. ⁋3   The levée of a great man is laid after the same manner.
1793   Literary & Biogr. Mag. Dec. 428/1   The temple of Ceres at Eleusis, which was erected after his own ideas, joined to the counsels of ignorant priests, was so destitute of good taste.
1833   T. De Quincey Revol. Greece in Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. Apr. 495/2   Managing the campaign after his own ideas, he speedily involved himself in quarrels.
1855   C. Dickens Little Dorrit (1857) i. i. 3   Handsome after its kind.
1879   W. B. Carpenter Princ. Mental Physiol. (ed. 5) i. ii. §82. 85   To build after one particular pattern.
1918   N. Bartley Bargain True xv. 238   He took her gravely to task for..fancying the world to be regulated after her own notions.
2004   R. Dew & P. Pape No Backup i. 6   Woven moccasins called opanci, which had a curled toe after the Turkish custom.

OE—2004(Hide quotations)


 b. In the manner of, in the same way as; in emulation of; like. Also with verbs of naming or designating: in imitation or memory of (see also name v. 1c).Cf. to take after —— at take v. Phrasal verbs 2.

OE   tr. Apollonius of Tyre (1958) i. 2   An Antiochia þare ceastre wæs sum cyningc Antiochus gehaten: æfter þæs cyninges naman wæs seo ceastre [perh. read ceaster] Antiochia geciged.
c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 11300   Swa þatt te faderr wurrþe firrst. Iechonyas ȝehatenn. & allse hiss sune efft affterr himm. Beo iechoniass nemmnedd.
a1275  (?c1200)    Prov. Alfred (Trin. Cambr.) (1955) 110 (MED)   Ofte mused þe catt after þe moder.
c1325  (c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Calig.) 1409 (MED)   Þe nexte monþe..He let after him clupie august.
a1398   J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) II. xv. v. 728   He gadred moche folke..and toke Armenia and clepid it aftir his owne name.
c1400  (?a1300)    Kyng Alisaunder (Laud) (1952) l. 5409 (MED)   More hij ben þan olyfaunz, Blake-heueded after a palfray.
c1405  (c1387–95)    G. Chaucer Canterbury Tales Prol. (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 125   Frenssh she spak..After the scole of Stratford at the Bowe.
c1430  (c1386)    G. Chaucer Legend Good Women (Cambr. Gg.4.27) (1879) l. 1072   Eneas..Aftyr Venus hadde he swich fayrnesse That no man myghte be half so fayr.
1484   W. Caxton tr. G. de la Tour-Landry Bk. Knight of Tower (1971) xx. 39   That she be arayed after the good ladyes of the Countre.
c1540  (?a1400)    Gest Historiale Destr. Troy 1613   Rome..was set..Tild vpon Tiber after Troy like.
1543  (▸1464)    Chron. J. Hardyng (1812) 42   This kyng Brutus..when he had the Isle all tripertyed, He called the chyefe Logres after Locryne.
?1577   F. T. Debate Pride & Lowlines sig. Ciiiv   And [they] were clothed after citiȝen.
1601   A. Munday tr. J. Teixeira Strangest Aduenture 83   Some were attired after the French, others like Hollanders.
1630   tr. G. Botero Relations Famous Kingdomes World (rev. ed.) 513   The Asians they terme after their owne name, Turks; but the Europians, Rumi, that is, Romans.
1691   T. Downes Exam. Arguments from Scripture & Reason 22   His Arguments against the Bishop's do equally conclude against his own Directions; and thus I argue after him.
1710   R. Steele Tatler No. 228. ⁋4   I must..copy after an old Almanack which I have by me.
1711   R. Steele Spectator No. 2. ⁋1   Sir Roger de Coverley. His Great Grand-father was Inventor of that famous Country-Dance which is called after him.
1795   E. Gibbon Autobiogr. 74   After his oracle Dr. Johnson, my friend..denies all original genius.
1839   H. Hallam Introd. Lit. Europe III. v. 470   Some are said to dress after a lady for whom nature has done more than for themselves.
1849   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. II. 491   A succession of bands designated, as was the fashion of that age, after their leaders.
1865   Fraser's Mag. Dec. 751/2   Arguing (after De Quincey) that a succession of passiuncles exhausts the soil of the heart.
1908   U. Sinclair Metropolis xvi. 279   Here was a woman who costumed herself after figures in famous paintings.
1924   A. F. Major tr. J. Brøndsted Early Eng. Ornament iii. 293   He christens them [sc. rune-stones] after the reddish sandstone,..the ‘Ringerike Group’.
1995   C. Hamnett in T. Butler & M. Savage Social Change & Middle Classes xv. 262   Jager argues, after Baudrillard, that socially produced objects can express the same logic as conspicuous leisure.

OE—1995(Hide quotations)


 c. In imitation of, in the style of (an artist or work). Also: in resemblance of, representing (a person or thing).

OE   Genesis B 396   He hæfð mon geworhtne æfter his onlicnesse.
OE   Ælfric Gram. (St. John's Oxf.) 14   Sume syndon facticia, þa synd geworhte æfter gelicnysse agenes sweges: tintinnabolum belle, turtur turtle.
c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 18824   Þatt arrke..iss wrohht off tre. Affterr þin herrtess arrke.
c1400  (?a1300)    Kyng Alisaunder (Laud) (1952) l. 335 (MED)   He took virgyne waxe And made a popet after þe quene.
?a1425  (c1400)    Mandeville's Trav. (Titus C.xvi) (1919) 109 (MED)   Symulacres ben ymages made after lykness of men..or of the mone or of ony best.
a1438   Bk. Margery Kempe (1940) i. 77 (MED)   An ymage..mad aftyr our Lord.
c1540  (?a1400)    Gest Historiale Destr. Troy 8758   A meruelous ymage, All grauen of gold..Amyt after Ector.
1558  (a1449)    J. Lydgate Minor Poems (1911) i. 290 (MED)   Se this glorious fygure, Whiche Sent Luke of our lady lyvynge After her lyknes made in picture.
1634   W. Tirwhyt tr. J. L. G. de Balzac Lett. 120   Nor will I believe he was made after the image of God, lest therein I should wrong so excellent a nature.
1667   E. Waterhouse Short Narr. Fire London 90   She seems to be framed after the Protoplast of the Nation, that she answers every feature and digestion of parts in the Greater Body.
1762   H. Walpole Vertue's Anecd. Painting II. i. 31   Nicholas, the second son..while abroad modelled after the antiques.
1845   A. Jameson Handbk. Publ. Galleries 313   Venus and Cupid..a copy after Titian.
1850   A. Jameson Sacred & Legendary Art 1   A portfolio of prints after the old masters.
1912   Times 3 June 6/1   The velvet brocade material..was woven after an English design.
1990   Antique Collector Oct. 64 (caption)    A painted enamel plaque after Philippe Mercier.
2002   J. Grieve tr. M. Proust In Shadow of Young Girls in Flower ii. 386   At the very bottom of this Harmony in Grey and Pink after Whistler, a tiny moth [etc.].

OE—2002(Hide quotations)


11. In a manner proportionate to; as befitting, appropriate to. Obsolete (archaic in later use).

OE   Vercelli Homilies (1992) iii. 74   Æfter þam gemete þære dæde, he sceal him þa hreowsunge gedeman.
OE   Ælfric Old Eng. Hexateuch: Gen. (Claud.) i. 25   God ða geworhte ðære eorðan deor æfter heora hiwum..& eall creopende cynn on heora cynne.
a1225  (?c1175)    Poema Morale (Lamb.) l. 64 in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 163 (MED)   And ȝeuen us ure swinkes lan efter ure erninge.
c1230  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Corpus Cambr.) (1962) 67   Ancre..ah to leaden heard lif, as dude þe leafdi iudith, efter hire euene.
a1350   in G. L. Brook Harley Lyrics (1968) 69   We bueþ dempned after vr dede a domesday.
a1375  (c1350)    William of Palerne (1867) l. 1936 (MED)   No man..schuld mow deuise men richlier a-raid..þe grete after here degre in þe gaiest wise, & menere men as þei miȝt.
1432   Rolls of Parl.: Henry VI (Electronic ed.) Parl. May 1432 §36. m. 6   There should no man ben amerced bote after þe quantite of his trespas.
a1475   J. Fortescue Governance of Eng. (Laud) (1885) 124 (MED)   Þe kynges right grete charge..shalbe more or lesse, aftir thair longe or shorte demure.
1549   T. Solme in H. Latimer 2nd Serm. before Kynges Maiestie To Rdr. sig. Avi   Cut thy cloth after the mesure.
?1566–7   G. Buchanan Opinion Reformation Univ. St. Andros in Vernacular Writings (1892) 9   Thyr classis salbe..promovit hyear efter thair meritis.
1611   Bible (King James) Psalms xxviii. 4   Giue them after the worke of their handes.  
a1626   F. Bacon Considerations War with Spain in Wks. (1874) XIV. 469   According to bulk and currency and not after their intrinsick value.
1714   T. Ellwood Hist. Life (1765) 234   We followed after our own Pace.
1861   G. W. Dasent tr. Story Burnt Njal I. lvi. 184   As for the rest of the manslaughters, they were paid for after the worth of the men.

OE—1861(Hide quotations)


12. At the rate of. Cf. after the rate of at rate n.1 4a. Obsolete.

1469   W. Ebesham in Paston Lett. & Papers (2004) II. 392   Item, for de Regimine Principum which conteyneth xlvti leves aftir a peny a leef, which is right wele worth.
1482   J. Dalton Let. 27 Jan. in Cely Lett. (1975) 129   I bowght vjc peltys after iiij s. iiij d. a C and lytyll moor.
1512   in T. Percy Regulations & Establishm. Houshold Fifth Earl of Northumberland (1768) 3   Of Shids at Lekyngfeld in the Wodyarde xxx lode after viij d. the lode.
1587   W. Harrison Hist. Descr. Iland Brit. (new ed.) ii. i. 137/1 in Holinshed's Chron. (new ed.) I   If these paie after foure shillings for land, the cleargie contribute commonlie after six shillings of the pound.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Measure for Measure (1623) ii. i. 232   Ile rent the fairest house in it after three pence a Bay.  
1643   H. Slingsby Diary (1836) 94   Have their pay after 6 shillings a week.
1718   Terrier in Shropshire Parish Documents (1903) 19   There is a dispute..whether the odd Lambs are to be..after threepence or three half-pence apiece.

1469—1718(Hide quotations)

 C. conj.
 1. Subsequent to the time when. Cf. branch B. II.
 a. Forming a compound conjunction.

(a) With pronoun and relative word. Obsolete.

OE   West Saxon Gospels: Matt. (Corpus Cambr.) xxvi. 32   Æfter þam þe ic of deaþe arise ic cume to eow on Galilea.
c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 7667   Affterr þatt tatt he wass dæd Ne toc ȝho wiþþ nan oþerr. Acc ledde siþþenn widdwe lif.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 51 (MED)   Efterþan þet þe mon bið dead, me leið þene licome in þere þruh.

OE—a1225(Hide quotations)


 (b) With relative word only (chiefly that). Now Caribbean.

eOE   tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) iv. xxiii. 326   Æfter þon [OE Corpus Cambr. æfter ðon þe] he hine gereste medmicel fæc, ða ahof hine up.
OE (Northumbrian)   Lindisf. Gospels: Luke ii. 22   Postquam impleti sunt dies purgationis eius..tulerunt illum in Hierusalem : æfter ðon gefylled wer dagas clænsunges his..lædon hine in Hierusalem.
?a1200  (?OE)    Peri Didaxeon (1896) 43   Æfter þæt seo blodlæse si ȝefylled, þu hine scealt scearpiȝean.
a1225  (?OE)    MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 139 (MED)   Sunnendei fond noe lond efter þet ure drihten hefde þet folc adreint.
c1300   Havelok (Laud) (1868) l. 2928 (MED)   After þat he spused wore, Wolde þe erl nouth dwelle þore, But sone nam until his lond.
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Jer. xxxvi. 27   And don is the wrd of the Lord to Jeremye, the profete, after that the king hadde brent the volum.
c1425  (c1300)    Chron. Robert of Gloucester (Harl.) 230   After þat Saxons & Englysse verst come þys lond to.
c1450   Speculum Christiani (Harl. 6580) (1933) 24 (MED)   Bot after that we haue for-sake oure-selfe, we be mych more fre fro besynes of hem.
1535   M. Coverdale Jer. xxxvi. 27   After now that the kynge had brente the boke.
1611   Bible (King James) Jer. xxxvi. 27   After that the king had burnt the roule.  
1658   E. Ashmole Way to Bliss iii. ii. 183   Agricola saith..that Salt-Peter, after that by draining it hath lost its taste and virtue, if it be laid open in the Weather, will within five or six years space, grow and ripen.
1981   Advocate News (Barbados) 14 Feb. 1   It is only after that this is done, that the Government will appoint someone to talk to them.
1996   R. Allsopp Dict. Caribbean Eng. Usage 14/2   After when she came back, dey went to de beach.

eOE—1996(Hide quotations)


 b. As a simple conjunction.

a1375  (c1350)    William of Palerne (1867) l. 679 (MED)   After he was a-waked a ful long þrowe, he wende ful witerly [etc.].
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1874) V. 357 (MED)   He..deide þe ȝere after he hadde ifonge þe fey of holy chirche.
?a1425  (c1400)    Mandeville's Trav. (Titus C.xvi) (1919) 116 (MED)   After þei han slayn hem, þei spryngen the blood vpon the ydole.
a1464   J. Capgrave Chron. Eng. (Cambr.) 62 (MED)   This empoure Claudius was so oblivious that, sone aftir he had killid his wyf, he asked why sche came not to soper.
1526   Bible (Tyndale) Matt. xxvi. 32   After I am rysen ageyne. [ Wyclif After that I schal rise aȝen.]
1588   A. King tr. P. Canisius Cathechisme or Schort Instr. 31   Efter we knaw the law maker, we may rewerence him ye mair.
1623   N. Ferrar Diary 4 Mar. in D. R. Ransome 17th-cent. Polit. & Financial Papers (1996) i. 52   After the Match was interteyned itt was never mentioned.
c1680   A. Wood Hist. & Antiq. Univ. Oxf. (1792) I. 60   After he had feasted the Scholars at his Inception, they like clownes left him.
1753   J. Hanway Hist. Acct. Brit. Trade Caspian Sea II. vi. 29   After the Portuguese had settled themselves in East India.
1772   L. Carter Diary 9 Oct. (1965) II. 738   Lead water is good to dry up a wound after it has well digested its matter.
1855   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. III. 10   A few days after the Revolution had been accomplished.
1896   Argosy Mar. 595/1   After they had refreshed themselves, they were assigned to their rooms.
1928   R. Jeffers Cawdor & Other Poems 17   Months later, after the rains began and cramped His migrant hunting, he thought [etc.].
2005   M. M. Frisby Wifebeater xxxiii. 235   After she got dressed she came strutting back into the living room.

a1375—2005(Hide quotations)

2. In the manner in which; according to what or how. Cf. branch B. IV.
 a. Forming a compound conjunction.

 (a) With pronoun and relative. Obsolete.

eOE   tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) i. xv. 60   Æfter þon þe heo lærdon [L. secundum ea quae docebant], heo sylfe þurh all lifdon.
OE   Vercelli Homilies (1992) xi. 223   Þæt we þurh þæt mægen..wæstmas godra wiorca on þære toweardan worulde gesamnigan, æfter þan þe hit on sealmum awriten is: Qui seminaþ [etc.].
a1225  (c1200)    Vices & Virtues (1888) 81 (MED)   After ðat ðe ðin mildce ys michel, haue ore of mine michele senne.
?c1250  (?c1175)    Poema Morale (Egerton) l. 358 in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 181 (MED)   Sume þer habbet lasse murhðe and sume habbed more, after þan þe hi dude her.
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Bodl. 959) (1959) Gen. xliii. 7   We answerden to hym, sewynglich, after þat, þat he askyde.
a1500   Rule Minoresses in W. W. Seton Two 15th Cent. Franciscan Rules (1914) 84 (MED)   Sche may haue two cotis or þre or foure, after þat as it schal beste lyke to þe Abbesse.

eOE—a1500(Hide quotations)


 (b) With relative only (that or as). Obsolete.

c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) Ded. l. 99   Himm bidde icc þatt het write rihht..All þwerrt ut affterr þatt itt iss. Vpp o þiss firrste bisne.
a1225  (c1200)    Vices & Virtues (1888) 93   Godes temple is ȝerard uppe..after ðat ðe apostel seið: Tempilum dei, quod estis uos.
c1330  (?c1300)    Speculum Guy (Auch.) (1898) l. 264 (MED)   Riht after þat man haþ don, He shal fonge his iugement.
c1426   J. Audelay Poems (1931) 17 (MED)   Vche person schuld haue his part after þat he had ned.
a1450   Lay Folks Mass Bk. (Corpus Oxf.) (1879) l. 8   If a Ml clerkes did noght els, After þat þe boke tels..Ȝitte soulde thay neuere fifte parte.
1460   M. Paston in Paston Lett. & Papers (2004) I. 259   It is solde ryth well aftyr þat the wole was, for the moste part was ryte febyll.
1587   Sir P. Sidney & A. Golding tr. P. de Mornay Trewnesse Christian Relig. xiv. 230   After as any of these three powers doe reigne and beare sway.
c1600  (?c1395)    Pierce Ploughman's Crede (Trin. Cambr. R.3.15) (1873) 732   But after þat his wynnynge is, is his well-fare.

c1175—c1600(Hide quotations)


 b. As a simple conjunction. Obsolete.

c1300   Havelok (Laud) (1868) l. 2810 (MED)   After godrich haues wrouht..Lokes þat ye demen him rith.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 8888 (MED)   O quens had he hundrets seuen..Efter þe laghes war in þaa dais.
c1440  (▸1357)    J. Gaytryge Lay Folks' Catech. (Thornton) in G. G. Perry Relig. Pieces in Prose & Verse (1914) 7   Ilke cristene mane awe..to take efter his elde es.
1484   W. Caxton tr. G. de la Tour-Landry Bk. Knight of Tower (1971) xxxix. 63   Bere honoure to euery one after he is worthy.
1634   Malory's Most Anc. Hist. Prince Arthur ii. cviii. sig. Aa3v   Euery knight after hee was of prowesse.

c1300—1634(Hide quotations)




 P1. after one's own heart: see heart n. 7.


 P2. after the flesh: see flesh n. 12.


P3. after the hand: after the event; afterwards. Cf. afterhand adv. Obsolete.

a1393   J. Gower Confessio Amantis (Fairf.) iv. l. 893 (MED)   Bot whanne he hath his cause lore, Thanne is he wys after the hond.
1616   G. Markham tr. C. Estienne et al. Maison Rustique (rev. ed.) v. xxii. 586   This part must be made reasonable stiffe, because the weake paste euer falleth after the hand.

a1393—1616(Hide quotations)


 a. after you is manners and variants: a polite formula used (frequently humorously or self-consciously) in yielding precedence. Cf. after you at Phrases 4b. Now rare.

1580   A. Saker Narbonus 90   The common saying is: after you is maners.
1650   R. Heath Epigrams 33, in Clarastella   Oh! after him is manners.
a1652   R. Brome Queen & Concubine iii. vii. 61 in Five New Playes (1659)    Cur. Wilt thou be a Scholar? Andr. After you is manners. Cur. Now by mine intellect, discreetly spoken.
1721   J. Kelly Compl. Coll. Scotish Prov. 42   After you is good Manners. Spoken when our Betters offer to serve us first.
1798   J. O'Keeffe Czar Peter iii. ii, in Dramatic Wks. III. 192   Stop, friend! after me is manners.
1849   Southern Cross (Auckland, N.Z.) 16 Oct.   ‘Come, then, you begin.’ ‘No, you.’ ‘After you is manners.’
1899   R. Whiteing No. 5 John St. xiv. 139   I remember the fine-company style of Tildor's tea-party, ‘After you's manners’, whenever we passed the plate.
1922   J. Joyce Ulysses 472   (He stands aside at the threshold.) After you is good manners.

1580—1922(Hide quotations)


 b. after you: a polite formula used in yielding precedence; ‘you go first’. Also with with: used to request the next turn with (something).

1734   H. Fielding Don Quixote in Eng. ii. xi. 36   After you, Sir; I am not quite unbred.
1768   O. Goldsmith Good Natur'd Man iii. 37   After you, Sir.
1851   Tait's Edinb. Mag. Oct. 590/1   After you with the paper, if you please, sir.
1898   B. M. Croker Peggy of Bartons xvii. 172   No, no; after you, please—ladies first.
1917   Atlantic Monthly Mar. 408/2   After you with the fire, mate.
1955   E. Pound Classic Anthol. iii. 152   Taught 'em to bow and stand aside, Say: after you, and: if you please.
2005   H. Mantel Beyond Black (2006) ix. 291   They arrived in the utility room at the same time..and stood saying coldly, after you, no, after you.

1734—2005(Hide quotations)

 P5. to be after .

 (a) To be trying to get or achieve (something).

1680   W. Petyt Britannia Languens v. 59   The French and Dutch have been after our Wooll since they set up their Woollen Manufactures; why have they and their Agents been lurking on our Coasts..to filch it away for so many years?
1775   R. B. Sheridan Rivals v. ii. 152   What tricks are you after now?
1895   Munsey's Mag. Sept. 581/2   I wonder what he is after?
1936   P. G. Wodehouse Laughing Gas iv. 49   That's all she's after—the title.
2001   K. Sampson Outlaws (2002) 239   I'm after a full ounce of the pure Chanel No. 5 perfume.

1680—2001(Hide quotations)


 (b) To be in pursuit of (a person), esp. with hostile intent; to be trying to get into the company of (a person).In quot. 1856: to attend to, keep watch upon (a person). Cf. to look after —— 4a at look v. Phrasal verbs 2, to see after —— 1 at see v. Phrasal verbs 2.

1796   G. Walker Theodore Cyphon (ed. 2) III. ii. 36   I'm after a d—d cunning fellow, who, I believe, is not always above ground.
1856   C. M. Yonge Daisy Chain i. vii. 67   You are a little bit of a sloven, and..some one must be always after you.
1885   ‘P. Cushing’ Woman with Secret III. iii. xi. 226   I'm after a Mr. Montaigne as lives thereabouts. Maybe you could direct me to his place?
1955   J. P. Donleavy Ginger Man xv. 158   A Mr. Skully, a former landlord, is after me for money.
2006   L. Soderlind Chasing Montana 74   Maybe I was after every woman I ever saw.

1796—2006(Hide quotations)


 (c) To urge (a person) repeatedly to do something; to nag or harass (a person) about something.

1859   W. B. Fowle Free Speaker 295   Mother and the parson are after me to go to the Sunday-school, but I won't go.
1866   W. M. Baker Inside iv. 29/2   Not a day, not an hour of the day, but his old companions were after him to enlist.
1915   O. M. Shackelforth Lillian Simmons xviii. 179   I have been after him about being so unconcerned about the future and I referred to you as an example.
1984   Times 11 Oct. 2/2   His suppliers will be after him to increase the price he pays for their parts.
2005   L. R. Burge Singing River Story xii. 141   Romy's been after me for years about my old Chevy here, but I know she's a good solid piece of American steelwork.

1859—2005(Hide quotations)

 b. Chiefly Irish English. With gerund.  [Reflecting a construction of the Irish perfective aspect, which is formed with the verb  be v.   (originally in any tense) and a preposition or prepositional phrase with the sense ‘after’ (originally iar, ar, air ‘after’ (Early Irish íar  , ar  : see ier-oe n.), since the 18th cent. usually tar éis, d'éis (and variants of these), or i ndiaidh), followed by a verbal noun. In Irish, this scope of this construction narrowed in the course of the 18th and 19th cent. and it is now chiefly used to refer to completed actions in the immediate past; in Scottish Gaelic, by contrast, the construction bi   to be + air + verbal noun has come to function as the regular perfect tense (compare also the regular modern Welsh perfect tense formed with bod   to be + wedi   ‘after’ + verbal noun).
The earliest uses of this construction in Irish English refer to future events. In e.g. quot. 1682 at Phrases 5b(b)   this corresponds to standard English ‘will have been’ and is within the semantic and grammatical range of the Irish construction at the time; the later narrowing in sense of Phrases 5b(b)   to the immediate past mirrors the same development within Irish. The early uses in Phrases 5b(a)   probably developed from this (within English), although they are attested slightly earlier. They disappear in parallel with the narrowing of the perfective uses in Irish and Irish English, but are occasionally found later in the speech of stereotypes in works written outside Ireland. Compare discussion in R. Hickey Irish Eng. (2007) 197–208.
The construction is found in Irish English and in varieties of English in other parts of the world (especially North America), which were influenced by Irish English. It is also found in the English of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, where it reflects the equivalent construction in Scottish Gaelic.]

 (a) To be in the act of, on the point of, desirous of (doing something).

c1670   Purgatorium Hibernicum (National Libr. Ireland MS 470) in A. Carpenter Verse Travesty in Restoration Ireland (2013) 97   Ffen beggars must be after chooseing.
1715   S. Centlivre Wife well Managed 3   An will you be after giving me the Moidore indeed, and by my Shoul now?
1792   H. H. Brackenridge Mod. Chivalry I. iv. iii. 99   The Irishman..utterly refused to be after fighting in any such manner.
1827   J. Barrington Personal Sketches Own Times I. 208   Then it's fitter..for you to be after putting your sign there in your pocket.
a1897   F. B. Lloyd Sketches Country Life (1898) xxi. 138   He was after savin lost souls and was willin to let other men save the country.
1916   J. B. Cooper Coo-oo-ee viii. 93   ‘Gorrah!’ exclaimed Mrs. O'Callaghan. ‘Is he after makin' me drunk?’

c1670—1916(Hide quotations)


 (b) To have completed the action of, to have just finished (doing something).In early use frequently with reference to future events (cf. quot. 1682); in later use chiefly retrospective.

1682   T. Shadwell Lancashire-witches v. 63   When I do go home, I vill be after being absolv'd for it.
1725   Proc. Old Bailey 7 Apr. 7/2   I wash after asking her which Way she wash walking.
1796   Proc. Old Bailey 14 Sept. 781/2   He was after coming from the country.
1828   T. C. Croker Fairy Legends & Trad. S. Ireland II. 74   It is not every lady..that would be after making [sc. would have made] such an offer.
1847   A. Trollope Macdermots II. i. 17   Thank ye, Mr. Kelly, but I am afther taking a little jist now.
1895   J. Barlow Strangers at Lisconnel viii. 169   They were after hangin' a lad up at the jail.
1922   J. Joyce Ulysses ii. xii. [Cyclops] 288   Sure I'm after seeing him not five minutes ago.
?1930   L. MacInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 16   Dae ye ken whut he's jist efter tellin' me.
1938   P. Kavanagh Green Fool xxv. 260   If it wasn't the turnips it was the pigs were after breaking loose, or a hen they wanted me help catch for the fowl dealer.
1958   B. Behan Borstal Boy i. 125   Well, I was after living through the winter and on the ninth I would be seventeen.
1985   M. Munro Patter 6   Ah'm just after being tae the doctor's.
1997   C. McPherson Weir 40   Sure, you were after getting a terrible shock.

1682—1997(Hide quotations)


 P6. after me (also us) the deluge : = après moi le déluge phr.  [After French après moi le déluge après moi le déluge phr.]

1755   J. Mills tr. J. B. L. Crevier Hist. Rom. Emperors II. vi. 415   He [sc. Tiberius] had frequently in his mouth a Greek verse, whose sense answers to the expression now in use, to shew an indifference to the human species, After me the deluge [Fr. Après moi le déluge].
1851   Times 10 Apr. 5/5   ‘After me the deluge,’ said Prince Metternich—a fine saying, but a false prophecy we trust.
1875   E. S. Carr Patrons of Husb. on Pacific Coast iii. 25   Wherever the selfish pursuit of profit, the vile principle ‘After us the Deluge’, has been the ruling motive, the deluge has followed.
1922   R. Hichens December Love i. 53   That noticeable and almost reckless egoism which is summed up by the laconic saying, ‘after me the deluge’.
1979   J. Crosby Party of Year xxv. 162   We are the last survivors..expiring in a shower of expensive sparks. After us, the Deluge.
2008   A. Martin tr. R. F. Monzote From Rainforest to Cane Field in Cuba 272   [He] lamented that the attitude of producers was one of ‘after me the deluge’.

1755—2008(Hide quotations)


  after-the-event adj. occurring or performed after a particular event, frequently with the implication of being too late; characterized by retrospectivity.

1872   T. Wright Grainger's Thorn I. i. vii. 188   There was not wanting a number of the after-the-event school of prophets, who..had ‘known what it would all come to’, and had ‘told you so’.
1922   ‘R. Crompton’ More William (1924) iv. 69   ‘We di'n't ought to have set off before dinner,’ said the squire with after-the-event wisdom.
2007   R. E. S. Tanner Violence & Relig. iii. 52   Religion becomes for Christians no more than the subject for after-the-event evaluations.

1872—2007(Hide quotations)