This question already has an answer here:

What do you call someone who has passed deadline or someone who should return book to the library, but has passed due date?

marked as duplicate by choster, Ellie Kesselman, phenry, A E, tchrist Nov 27 '14 at 0:21

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


In the case of the library book, it's typically called "overdue":

From Google Dictionary:

  1. not having arrived, happened, or been done by the expected time.

Example: "the rent was nearly three months overdue"

synonyms: late, behind schedule, behind time, delayed, unpunctual

Overdue books are the bane of librarians and the title of this book on the subject by Marilyn Johnson:

enter image description here

For other scenarios, there may be a specific word such as "tardy" for the person being late to arrive at a given time, for example, as Mysti posted.

Missing a deadline for a project at work could be considered "late", "past due" or even "behind schedule"


What about "tardy"-adj. When you're tardy, you're late.

: arriving or doing something late

The word comes from the Latin tardus, meaning "slow."

You may be tardy for an appointment because you got stuck in traffic, or maybe you just slept late and you don't have good time management skills. Whatever the excuse, being tardy almost always annoys whoever's waiting for you.




  1. failing in or neglectful of a duty or obligation; guilty of a misdeed or offense.
  2. (of an account, tax, debt, etc.) past due; overdue.
  3. of or pertaining to delinquents or delinquency : delinquent attitudes.


  1. a person who is delinquent.

From Des Moines Public Library policies

FVII. Delinquent Borrowers

Borrowers who owe debts to the library are not afforded library privileges. Borrowing privileges will be restored when materials are returned and late return fines are paid or when all fines and fees are paid for lost materials.

  • 1
    Calling a person delinquent would immediately be understood as you calling them petty criminals. Someone who misses his deadline for a school essay is hardly a petty criminal. The sense you refer to here is very formal and rare compared to the ‘petty criminal’ sense. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 25 '14 at 14:33
  • I upvoted you and subsequently someone downvoted you. I don't know why, but you'd be able to both improve your answer and protect it from further downvotes if you quote reference a dictionary (with link) and quote, verbatim, the appropriate definition from that source. – Dan Bron Nov 25 '14 at 14:34
  • It may be formal but it is far from rare. It is legal terminology used in policy language that people agree to when applying for a library card. – Pablo Nov 25 '14 at 15:33

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.