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1. Being the second of two persons or things mentioned: Regarding captain and major, the latter rank is higher.
2. Near or nearer to the end: the latter part of the book.
3. Further advanced in time or sequence; later: a style that has been revived in latter times.
The second of two persons or things mentioned.

[Middle English, later, from Old English lætra; see lē- in Indo-European roots.]

lat′ter·ly adv.


adj (prenominal)
a. denoting the second or second mentioned of two: distinguished from former
b. (as noun; functioning as sing or plural): the latter is not important.
2. near or nearer the end: the latter part of a film.
3. more advanced in time or sequence; later
Usage: The latter should only be used to refer to the second of two items: many people choose to go by hovercraft rather than use the ferry, but I prefer the latter. The last of three or more items can be referred to as the last-named


(ˈlæt ər)

1. being the second mentioned of two (disting. from former): the latter version of the story.
2. more advanced in time; later: in these latter days of human progress.
3. near or comparatively near to the end: the latter part of the century.
4. Obs. last; final.
[before 1000; Middle English latt(e)re, Old English lætra, comp. of læt late]



The latter should only be used to refer to the second of two things or people which have already been mentioned.

Given the choice between working for someone else and working for the family business, she'd prefer the latter.

You use the former to talk about the first of two things already mentioned.

These two firms are in direct competition, with the former trying to cut costs and increase profits.

If you are talking about three or more things or people, don't use 'the latter' or 'the former'. Use an expression with the last or the first.

The company has three branches, in Birmingham, Plymouth, and Greenock. The last of these will close next year.

If you are mentioning things for the first time, don't use 'the former' or 'the latter'. Use the first or the second.

There will be two matches next week. The first will be in Brighton, and the second in London.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.latter - the second of two or the second mentioned of twolatter - the second of two or the second mentioned of two; "Tom and Dick were both heroes but only the latter is remembered today"
second - following the first in an ordering or series; "he came in a close second"
former - the first of two or the first mentioned of two; "Tom and Dick were both heroes but only the former is remembered today"
Adj.1.latter - referring to the second of two things or persons mentioned (or the last one or ones of several); "in the latter case"
former - referring to the first of two things or persons mentioned (or the earlier one or ones of several); "the novel was made into a film in 1943 and again in 1967; I prefer the former version to the latter one"


pronoun second, last, last-mentioned, second-mentioned He tracked down his cousin and uncle. The latter was sick.
adjective last, later, latest, ending, closing, final, concluding The latter part of the debate concentrated on abortion.
last earlier, former, previous, prior, preceding, foregoing, antecedent


1. Of or relating to a terminative condition, stage, or point:
2. Next before the present one:
síîari; seinni
sonsona yakın


1. (= last) → último
the latter part of the storyla última parte del relato
in the latter part of the centuryhacia fines or finales del siglo
2. (of two) → segundo
B. N the latter (sing) → éste/ésta; (pl) → éstos/éstas
the former ... the latteraquél ... éste ...


the latter → ce dernier(cette dernière)
He tracked down his cousin and uncle. The latter was sick → Il retrouva la trace de son cousin et de son oncle. Ce dernier était malade.
Men still outnumber women, though the latter are catching up → Les hommes sont toujours plus nombreux que les femmes, bien que ces dernières soient en train de refaire leur retard.
The latter is the more expensive of the two systems
BUT Ce dernier système est le plus coûteux des deux.
the former ..., the latter ... → le premier ..., le second ...
The former lives in the US, the latter in Australia → Le premier habite aux États-Unis, le second en Australie.
[part, half] → dernier/ière
in the latter half of the 17th century → pendant la dernière moitié du XVIIe siècle
[category, version] → dernier/ière
I prefer the latter version to the former → Je préfère la dernière version à la précédente.


(= second of two)letztere(r, s)
(= at the end) the latter part of the book/story is bettergegen Ende wird das Buch/die Geschichte besser; the latter half of the week/year/centurydie zweite Hälfte der Woche/des Jahres/des Jahrhunderts; in the latter yearsin den letzten Jahren; in his latter yearsin späteren Jahren
n the latterder/die/das/Letztere; (more than one) → die Letzteren pl; I don’t agree with the latterich bin mit Letzterem nicht einverstanden; of these two theories I prefer the lattervon diesen beiden Theorien ziehe ich (die) letztere vor


1. n the latterquest'ultimo/a
of the two, the latter is better → fra i due è meglio il secondo
2. adj
a. (later) → ultimo/a
the latter years of his life → gli ultimi anni della sua vita
b. (of two) the latter part of the storyla seconda or l'ultima parte della storia


(ˈlӕtə) adjective
towards the end. the latter part of our holiday.
ˈlatterly adverb
1. recently; lately.
2. towards the end.
the latter
the second of two things etc mentioned. John and Mary arrived, the latter wearing a green wool dress.

to choose the second or latter (not later) of two alternatives.


pron. éste, ésta; el, la más reciente, el más moderno, la más moderna.
References in classic literature ?
The latter informs the party that she bequeths untold wealth to the young pair and an awful doom to Don Pedro, if he doesn't make them happy.
But now that the latter had ceased, at least for a time, Tom and Ned looked toward the scientist.
Climate may have had great influence on the former, but it is difficult to see how it can have produced the substantial difference which exists in the latter.
Thorndike, the latter saw that the young judge had suddenly recognized him.
His home would include the home of the dead and buried wizard, and would thus afford the ghost of the latter a kind of privilege to haunt its new apartments, and the chambers into which future bridegrooms were to lead their brides, and where children of the Pyncheon blood were to be born.
The original and more potent causes, however, lay in the rare perfection of his animal nature, the moderate proportion of intellect, and the very trifling admixture of moral and spiritual ingredients; these latter qualities, indeed, being in barely enough measure to keep the old gentleman from walking on all-fours.
And there are other truths in the two latter sciences which, if they cannot pretend to rank in the class of axioms, are yet such direct inferences from them, and so obvious in themselves, and so agreeable to the natural and unsophisticated dictates of common-sense, that they challenge the assent of a sound and unbiased mind, with a degree of force and conviction almost equally irresistible.
As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves.
The latter is meant to designate the French creole of Canada or Louisiana; the former, the trapper of the old American stock, from Kentucky, Tennessee, and others of the western States.
The latter, however, have no consciousness anterior to their physical births, and very little, indeed, for some time afterwards; whereas a different law prevails as respects us; our mental conformation being such as to enable us to refer our moral existence to a period that embraces the experience, reasoning and sentiments of several generations.
OF the trinity of American authors whose births made the year 1819 a notable one in our literary history,--Lowell, Whitman, and Melville,--it is interesting to observe that the two latter were both descended, on the fathers' and mothers' sides respectively, from have families of British New England and Dutch New York extraction.
He then took a jaunt to Boston to purchase medicines, and, as some intimated, to walk the hospital; we know not how the latter might have been, but, if true, he soon walked through it, for he returned within a fortnight, bringing with him a suspicious-looking box, that smelled powerfully of brimstone.