I recently saw a snack container, where at the bottom - which you would see after eating the contents of the container - there was a label that read "contains no pig fat". This label / warning was not visible from the underside... only after you ate the food.

If you had a dietary restriction on eating pork or fat, it's already too late... if there were any in the food product.

This is some kind of ... ex post facto notification. I have heard people give 'warnings' like this after it is too late for the warning to affect behavior. The cause of the tardiness is either absentmindedness or other mistake.

Does a name, term, or phrase exist for some kind of reassurance, that is in the style of a warning, but is too late to ever warn you?

Note: I am not looking for an idiomatic-expression. The fact that this is a useless warning is important to me. I think this is a mu-style question!

I am hoping for a term that describes this issue, in context to the kind of problem (i.e. a warning). Neologisms are fine, if they do it right.

  • 1
    Actually, logically, this sounds like an extreme one-off to me because food products include their ingredients on the outside of the package. This inside affirmation could be the result of a lawsuit or injunction or a misapplied package bottom that should have appeared on the outside, not the inside. Nov 1, 2013 at 22:01
  • It's not limited: the same applies to a warnin regarding an unsafe activity - like when using a power tool improperly, leading to a near-miss injury, which someone nearby the 'warns' you about. This regards advice to perform a (QA) check after the point in time that was necessary. Nov 2, 2013 at 23:27
  • That's what I was thinking too but you were kind of specific about your example and you used the "food" tag. Nov 2, 2013 at 23:30
  • @KristinaLopez, you're right - this should not be limited to food, but could include it. Nov 4, 2013 at 14:49
  • 3
    Polish has a really good idiom for that, translating directly to "Mustard after dinner", served when it's no longer of any use.
    – SF.
    Nov 8, 2013 at 14:34

5 Answers 5


When you actually encounter it, you could certainly call it a belated warning.

belated - happening or coming very late or too late

Since the warning was always underneath the container, it doesn't really make sense to call it "belated" (or anything else referring "lack of timeliness") before it's read. The best you can do there is say it's badly positioned, or some other reference to position, rather than [future] time of reading.

  • @bib: Ah, well I did add another paragraph after the original posting. (Is it enough now? :) Nov 1, 2013 at 18:44

Urban dictionary has this word: afterwarning.

A warning of a past event.

Not bad for a neologism.

  • I do like this, though it's a bit too implicative. I'm hoping for a term that more-directly addresses the 'uselessness' of the warning. This isn't bad, though Nov 1, 2013 at 20:05
  • Thanks NewAlexandria - can't think of anything else but will rack a little bit more ... although by definition I guess a told-you-so afterwarning is useless.
    – user49727
    Nov 1, 2013 at 21:59

An "untimely" warning is one that comes at an inappropriate time, which could mean "far too late to do any good" in the proper context. It's not exactly what you are looking for, but it can be used to mean that given the rest of the context.


Perhaps dilatory warning

characterized by procrastination; tardy

Or after the fact advisory

Too late; after something is finished or final


Yesterday, someone suggested to me that this situation be identified thusly:


I rejected this, at first, contending that it wasn't the intention of the person issuing the warning.

They countered that such person clearly understands that the warning is coming too late - and that regardless of demeanor or delivery, their awareness places the 'warning' in the category of Sarcasm.

I could not rebut. It does not relate to the case where a person was absentminded, and mentions out of some kind of 'neurotic behavior,' but otherwise seemed quite straight.

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