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The meaning and origin of the expression: Better late than never

Better late than never


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Better late than never'?

To arrive or do something later than expected isn't good, but it is better than not at all.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Better late than never'?

This proverb is often expressed with a degree of sarcasm, apparently saying something positive but in fact merely remarking on someone's lateness. A teacher might say it to a child arriving late for school, for example.

Better late than neverGeoffrey Chaucer appears to have been the first person to have put the proverb into print, in The Canterbury Tales - The Yeoman's Prologue and Tale, circa 1386:

For bet than never is late. [Better than never is late.]

See also: the List of Proverbs.

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