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From Middle English lately, latly, equivalent to late +‎ -ly. Compare Old English lætīċe (slowly, tardily).[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈleɪ
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪtli
  • Hyphenation: late‧ly


lately (comparative latelier or more lately, superlative lateliest or most lately)

  1. Recently; not long ago; of late.
    I'd lately returned from Japan.
    It's only lately that I've been well enough to get out of bed.
  2. (slang) In a late manner; after-the-fact.
    Don't try to come lately and change your answer now after you've heard everyone else's response.
  3. (of a peer) Formerly.
    • 2023, “Honours list on the demise of HM Queen Elizabeth II”, in London Gazette, number 64008, page D2:
      David George Philip Cholmondeley, The Marquess of CHOLMONDELEY, K.C.V.O., lately Lord Great Chamberlain, Royal Household.
    • 1545, Inquisition post mortem of John Arundell of Lanherne knight's lands in Devon[1]:
      The ¼th of the manor of Dunterdon is held of the king by knight's service as of his honour of Okehampton, now in the king's hands by reason of the atteinture of Henry lately Marquis of Exeter for high treason, and is worth 55s 6d yearly.


Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “lately”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.