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How To Say Late In Spanish

If you are planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country or just want to expand your vocabulary, it is helpful to know how to say "late" in Spanish. In this article, we will cover the meaning of "late" in Spanish, regional differences, and provide some useful phrases to help you master this word.

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What is "Late" in Spanish?

"Late" in Spanish can be translated as "tarde", which is pronounced as /ˈtaɾ.ðe/ in IPA phonetics. It is a common word that is used in a variety of contexts to refer to something happening after the expected or usual time.

Meaning of "Late" in Spanish

In Spanish, "tarde" can refer to different types of lateness, depending on the context. It can mean late in terms of time, as in “Me desperté tarde hoy” (I woke up late today.) Alternatively, it can mean delayed, as in “el vuelo está retrasado” (The flight is running late.) Finally, it can also mean overdue or behind schedule, as in “Estoy atrasado con mi tarea” ("I'm late with my homework.)

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Translating "Late" to Spanish

To translate "late" to Spanish, you can use the word "tarde". However, it is important to note that there are regional variations in how the word is used.

In some Spanish-speaking countries, such as Argentina and Uruguay, the word "tardanza" (IPA: /taɾˈð is also used to refer to lateness or delay. Additionally, some Spanish-speaking countries may use other words to express different types of lateness, such as "demora" (IPA: /deˈmo.ɾa/) or "retraso" (IPA: /reˈtɾ

Regional Differences

As mentioned above, there are regional differences in how the word "late" is used in Spanish. Here are a few examples of variations across different Spanish-speaking countries:

  • In Spain, it is common to use the expression "con retraso" (IPA: /kon reˈtɾ to refer to being late or behind schedule.
  • In Mexico and some other Latin American countries, the word "tardar" (IPA: /tarˈdaɾ/) can be used to express taking a long time to do something or being slow.
  • In Puerto Rico, the word "tardío" (IPA: /tarˈdi.o/) is sometimes used to refer to something that is late or overdue.

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Sample Sentences on How to Say "Late" in Spanish

Here are five sample sentences to help you understand how to use "tarde" in different contexts:

  • Llegué tarde a la reunión.

(I arrived late to the meeting.)

  • El restaurante está abierto hasta tarde esta noche.

(The restaurant is open late tonight.)

  • Lo siento, llegué tarde, había tráfico.

(I'm sorry I'm late, there was traffic.)

  • La película empezó tarde debido a problemas técnicos.

(The movie started late because of technical difficulties.)

  • Ella siempre llega tarde, es muy frustrante.

(She's always late, it's really frustrating.)


In Spanish, the word for "late" is "tarde", and it can be used to refer to different types of lateness, such as being delayed or behind schedule. While there are regional variations in how the word is used, "tarde" is a universal term that can be used in any Spanish-speaking country.

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