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See also: spat, Spat, spaț, spať, spát, şpat, ṣpät, and spAt



From Middle High German spǣte, from Old High German spāti, from Proto-West Germanic *spādī, from Proto-Germanic *spēdiz. Cognate with Hunsrik sped, from Low German späd, archaic Dutch spade (late). Probably related to sparen (to spare, conserve).


  • IPA(key): /ʃpɛːt/ (standard; used naturally in western Germany and Switzerland)
  • IPA(key): /ʃpeːt/ (overall more common; particularly northern and eastern regions)
  • Rhymes: -ɛːt, -eːt
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spät (strong nominative masculine singular später, comparative später, superlative am spätesten)

  1. late
    Antonym: früh

Usage notes[edit]

  • The English phrase I'm late cannot be literally translated into German (*Ich bin spät). Colloquial German has Ich bin zu spät, and more formal versions are Ich komme zu spät and Ich bin verspätet.
  • The phrase Ich bin spät dran implies slight lateness or can mean that one has been delayed but may still manage to arrive on time.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • spät” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • spät” in Uni Leipzig: Wortschatz-Lexikon
  • spät” in Duden online