Top 24 Slang For Late – Meaning & Usage

Do you ever find yourself struggling to keep up with the latest slang terms, especially when it comes to being “late” to the party? Fear not! We’ve got you covered with a curated list of the top slang for being late that will have you speaking the language of the cool kids in no time. So sit back, relax, and get ready to upgrade your vocabulary game with our comprehensive guide.

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1. Tardy

This term is used to describe someone or something that is behind schedule or not on time. It can refer to a person who is consistently late or to an event that is delayed.

  • For example, a teacher might say, “Don’t be tardy for class.”
  • A friend might jokingly say, “You’re always tardy to our meetups.”
  • A boss might warn an employee, “Being tardy to work is not acceptable.”

2. Behind schedule

This phrase is used to indicate that something is not progressing or happening as planned. It can refer to tasks, projects, or events that are running behind the intended timeline.

  • For instance, a project manager might say, “We’re behind schedule on this project.”
  • A student might stress, “I’m behind schedule with my assignments.”
  • A traveler might complain, “My flight is behind schedule, and I might miss my connection.”

3. Running behind

This phrase is used to describe something that is not occurring or progressing as expected. It can refer to any situation that is experiencing a delay or is not on time.

  • For example, a person might say, “I’m running behind schedule and won’t be able to make it on time.”
  • A friend might apologize, “Sorry, I’m running behind. I’ll be there as soon as possible.”
  • A colleague might inform, “The meeting is running behind, so it will start a bit later.”

4. Lagging

This term is used to indicate that someone or something is not keeping up with the expected pace or progress. It can refer to individuals, projects, or any situation that is slower than desired.

  • For instance, a coach might say, “You’re lagging behind the other players in terms of fitness.”
  • A student might worry, “I’m lagging behind in my studies and need to catch up.”
  • A gamer might complain, “My computer is lagging, and it’s affecting my gameplay.”

5. Belated

This term is used to describe something that is happening or being done later than expected or intended. It is often used in the context of greetings or wishes that are sent after the specified occasion.

  • For example, someone might send a belated birthday card or message.
  • A person might apologize, “I’m sorry for the belated response.”
  • A friend might say, “Belated congratulations on your promotion!”

6. Past due

This term is commonly used to refer to a payment that is not made by the scheduled due date. It implies that the payment is overdue and should have been made earlier.

  • For example, a person might say, “I forgot to pay my bill, and now it’s past due.”
  • A creditor might send a reminder letter stating, “Your payment is past due. Please make a payment as soon as possible.”
  • In a conversation about financial responsibility, someone might say, “It’s important to pay your bills on time to avoid any past due fees.”

7. Overdue

This term is used to describe something that should have been completed or arrived at a certain time but is now late or delayed.

  • For instance, a library book that is returned after the due date is considered overdue.
  • A person might say, “I apologize for the overdue report. I’ll submit it as soon as possible.”
  • In a discussion about project deadlines, someone might mention, “We need to finish the tasks that are overdue to catch up with the timeline.”

8. Delayed

This term is used to indicate that something is not happening or arriving at the expected or planned time.

  • For example, if a flight is delayed, it means it will depart later than scheduled.
  • A person might say, “I’m sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been busy with other tasks.”
  • In a conversation about transportation, someone might mention, “Due to heavy traffic, the bus is delayed by 30 minutes.”

9. Behind time

This term refers to being late or not being on schedule.

  • For instance, if someone is behind time for a meeting, it means they are running late.
  • A person might say, “I apologize for being behind time. There was heavy traffic on the way.”
  • In a discussion about punctuality, someone might mention, “It’s important to be on time and not fall behind time.”

10. Slowpoke

This term is used to describe a person who is slow in their actions or consistently late in arriving at a certain place or completing a task.

  • For example, if someone is always the last one to arrive at a gathering, they might be referred to as a slowpoke.
  • A person might say, “Come on, slowpoke! We’re already late.”
  • In a conversation about productivity, someone might mention, “Don’t be a slowpoke. Finish your tasks on time.”

11. Slack

To slack means to delay or procrastinate on a task or responsibility. It implies not putting in the necessary effort or taking things too casually.

  • For example, “Stop slacking off and finish your homework.”
  • In a work setting, a coworker might say, “Don’t slack on your part of the project.”
  • A teacher might warn a student, “If you keep slacking, you won’t pass the class.”

12. Dragging

Dragging refers to moving slowly or taking a long time to complete a task or arrive at a destination. It can also imply a lack of enthusiasm or energy.

  • For instance, “Sorry I’m late, I was dragging this morning.”
  • When someone is taking a long time to get ready, you might say, “Why are you dragging your feet?”
  • In a work context, a colleague might complain, “They’re dragging their feet on making a decision.”

13. Lollygagging

To lollygag means to waste time or linger aimlessly without purpose. It implies a lack of urgency or productivity.

  • For example, “Stop lollygagging and get to work.”
  • When someone is taking their time, you might say, “Quit lollygagging and hurry up.”
  • If a friend is delaying plans, you might say, “Quit lollygagging and let’s go already.”

14. Dilly-dallying

Dilly-dallying refers to wasting time or delaying action. It implies indecisiveness or a lack of focus.

  • For instance, “Stop dilly-dallying and make a decision.”
  • When someone is taking too long to get ready, you might say, “Quit dilly-dallying and let’s go.”
  • In a work context, a supervisor might say, “We can’t afford any dilly-dallying on this project.”

15. Tardigrade

Tardigrade is a slang term used to describe someone who is extremely late or consistently late. It implies a lack of punctuality or reliability.

  • For example, “He’s always a tardigrade, we can never count on him to be on time.”
  • When someone arrives very late, you might say, “Wow, you’re a real tardigrade.”
  • If someone is consistently late, a friend might say, “You need to work on your tardigrade tendencies.”

16. Laggard

This term refers to someone who is consistently late or slow in completing tasks or meeting deadlines. A laggard is often seen as being behind or falling behind others.

  • For example, in a group project, someone might say, “We can’t afford to have any laggards. We need everyone to be on time.”
  • A manager might address a team by saying, “Let’s pick up the pace, laggards. We have a deadline to meet.”
  • A friend might tease another by saying, “You’re such a laggard. We’ve been waiting for you for ages!”

17. Dilly-dally

To dilly-dally means to waste time or delay in taking action or making a decision. It implies a lack of urgency or efficiency in completing tasks or arriving at a destination.

  • For instance, a parent might scold a child by saying, “Stop dilly-dallying and get ready for school.”
  • A teacher might remind students, “We don’t have time to dilly-dally. Let’s get started on our assignments.”
  • A friend might playfully say, “Quit dilly-dallying and make up your mind already!”

18. Punctually challenged

This phrase refers to someone who consistently struggles with being on time. It suggests that the person has difficulty arriving at appointments, meetings, or events at the designated time.

  • For example, a coworker might say, “We all know John is punctually challenged. We have to remind him of every meeting.”
  • A boss might address an employee by saying, “Being punctually challenged is not acceptable. You need to work on your time management.”
  • A friend might sympathize with another by saying, “I know you’re punctually challenged, but we can’t keep waiting for you all the time.”

19. Time-challenged

This term is used to describe someone who struggles with managing their time effectively. It suggests that the person finds it difficult to allocate time for tasks, resulting in being late or falling behind schedule.

  • For instance, a teacher might say to a student, “You’re time-challenged. You need to learn how to prioritize your assignments.”
  • A colleague might offer advice by saying, “If you’re time-challenged, try using a planner or setting reminders to stay on track.”
  • A parent might express concern by saying, “I’m worried about your time-challenged tendencies. It’s important to develop good time management skills.”

20. Slow on the uptake

This phrase refers to someone who is slow to understand or comprehend things. It implies a lack of quickness or sharpness in grasping concepts or ideas.

  • For example, a teacher might say to a student, “You’re slow on the uptake. You need to pay more attention in class.”
  • A friend might jokingly tease another by saying, “Come on, don’t be slow on the uptake. It was just a simple joke.”
  • A coworker might express frustration by saying, “I can’t believe you’re still slow on the uptake after all the explanations.”

21. Time-strapped

This slang term refers to someone who is constantly busy and does not have enough time to complete tasks or meet deadlines. It implies that the person is under significant time pressure and may struggle to keep up with their obligations.

  • For example, “I can’t attend the meeting because I’m time-strapped with other projects.”
  • A student might say, “I’m feeling time-strapped with all these assignments due tomorrow.”
  • A working professional might complain, “I’m always time-strapped and can never catch a break.”

22. Fashionably late

This phrase is used to describe someone who arrives late to an event or gathering, but does so in a deliberate and stylish manner. It suggests that the person wants to make a grand entrance or be noticed by others.

  • For instance, “She made a fashionably late entrance to the party, turning heads as she walked in.”
  • At a wedding, someone might comment, “The bride arrived fashionably late, creating an air of anticipation.”
  • A celebrity might purposefully arrive late to a red carpet event, with the media saying, “He pulled off a fashionably late arrival, stealing the spotlight.”

23. Last-minute

This term refers to something that is done or happens right before a deadline or event. It implies that the person did not plan or prepare in advance and had to rush to complete the task or make it on time.

  • For example, “I finished the report at the last-minute, staying up all night to get it done.”
  • A student might say, “I always do my homework at the last-minute, but somehow manage to get good grades.”
  • A person rushing to catch a flight might exclaim, “I made it to the airport at the last-minute, just before the gate closed.”

24. Behind the eight ball

This slang phrase means to be in a challenging or unfavorable situation, often due to being late or unprepared. It comes from the game of pool, where the eight ball is the last ball to be pocketed and being behind it puts a player at a disadvantage.

  • For instance, “I’m behind the eight ball with this project, as I haven’t started yet and the deadline is tomorrow.”
  • A person struggling to catch up might say, “I’m always behind the eight ball, trying to finish tasks at the last minute.”
  • Someone facing financial difficulties might describe their situation as, “I’m constantly behind the eight ball, struggling to pay my bills.”
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