1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

late father

Discussion in 'English Only' started by rsb, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. rsb

    rsb Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Italy, Italian
    Hy, anyone knows the meaning of "late father"?

    This is the whole sentence: "I was struck by the resemblance of John to my late father"

    Thank you very much!;)
     
  2. Trina

    Trina Senior Member

    Sydney
    Australia (English)
    "Late" is used here to mean "dead"
    It is often used to describe someone who is recently deceased
     
  3. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Try define: late in Google, and you will find all definitions of late.
     
  4. Ritterbruder Junior Member

    Chinese(Mandarin and Shangahainese), English
    Saying that somebody is "dead" can often be offensive when used improperly. Although grammatically correct, "dead" is a very strong word that should not be used in sensitive situations.

    Also, you might see people use phrases like "pass away" or "has 6 months to live" as a substitute for the verb "to die".
     
  5. rsb

    rsb Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Italy, Italian
    thank you very much! You all are very helpful!
     
  6. mjscott Senior Member

    If you google the NEWS, you would probably find late used to mean dead. Trina is right--even if the definitions do not come up. My late father, means my father, who has recently died.

    Try googling the late President of the United States, or the late dictator of such-and-such a country.
     
  7. Trina

    Trina Senior Member

    Sydney
    Australia (English)
    However, it seems the late President could also be interpreted as someone who once held that position. (though I would automatically think of a dead president)

     
  8. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    I heard "the late [SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1]Benazir Bhutto"[/SIZE][/SIZE] mentioned several times on the news today and was wondering about the appropriateness of using "late" the same day that an important political figure is murdered? :confused:

    It seemed much more appropriate on the day of such a huge news story to say "the assassinated former PM" or "[SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1]Benazir Bhutto,[/SIZE][/SIZE] who was killed today." It i had heard the story for the first time and "late" was used, I might have thought that she had died a more natural death perhaps several days ago. :confused:
     
  9. Attila the Professor New Member

    United States, English
    I recall once having a jovial conversation about whether there is a time at which it becomes less appropriate to use "late"...any thoughts on that, while we're here?
     
  10. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    I agree with you there, Grefsen: to refer to her as late on the very day of her assassination does seem somehow to overlook the fact that she has just suffered a horrible violent death.

    Maybe, Attila, it's at the point where you finally realize they're not so much late as not coming.
     
  11. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Thanks for your reply ewie. I also heard "the demise of [SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1]Benazir Bhutto" used in one of the CNN reports on the same day that she was murdered and felt like this wasn't very appropriate either.

    I'd be curious to know what others think about the use of "late" when discussing someone who has died a violent death. [/SIZE][/SIZE]
     
  12. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Yes, demise too suggests something a lot more peaceful than an assassination.
     
  13. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    From this discussion, it seems that the issue is not about being right or wrong but about sensitivities and appropriateness.

    If I were writing about the passing of Ms Bhutto on the eve of her assassination, I might well choose a different adjective than "late," but I see nothing wrong with it.

    I do have an issue with the blanket statement that "late" applies ONLY to the recently (whatever that means) departed.

    I think a person will refer to deceased parents as his/her late father or mother for the rest of their lives. At least I will.
     
  14. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    :eek: I hope you mean evening or night, SD!
     
  15. amigita New Member

    Granbury, Texas
    USA English
    I agree that late does not have to mean recently deceased/dead. It just means that they have died. There is no specific time limit on how long ago that was.
     
  16. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Ouch! So noted.
     
  17. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    I agree with you sdgraham. Really the only issue I have is when "late" is used too soon, especially in the case of someone who suffers a violent death.
     
  18. HarmlessDrudge Junior Member

    Welsh Marches
    United Kingdom, English & Dutch
    PMFJI, Grefsen, but your objection seems to centre on exactly what the expression has specifically meant since 1490 (OED): the *recently* alive who are no more now (of a person). (They are 'late', i.e. 'not there when they should be' -- the word is highly evocative.) In that sense you simply cannot use it too soon, surely? Specifically, only just berieved, I would justifiably refer to my late father; 11 years on, as is the actual fact, that would be semantically pretty odd were I to do so, as by now it would stretch 'recently' well beyond its tensile strength and then some. The manner of the demise, however discomfiting, can't really have a bearing on the usage, can it..?

    *HD*
     

Share This Page