I am looking for a word that means "late bloomer" and I believe is of Greek, not Latin, origin, though I'm not sure of the etymology.

  • 1
    Do you want to say why it's Greek and what you will do with the word? Jul 11, 2017 at 18:00
  • 3
    Is neoteny (the slowing or delaying of body development) the relevant characteristic here? Jul 11, 2017 at 18:02
  • Updated my answer with info on the words appearance in antiquity.
    – DukeZhou
    Jul 12, 2017 at 3:04

1 Answer 1


I did a quick search for Greek words with this meaning and found:

opsimath (ὀψιμαθής)

from the Greek ὀψέ (opsé, “late”) and μανθάνω (manthánō, “I learn”), which, in the wiki, is linked to "late bloomer".

At first I thought this was a purely modern medical term, but I did find an entry in some Ancient Greek lexicons, and it appears in Lucian, Isocrates, Plato, Epicurus, Cicero, Xenophon, and Theophrastus.

  • 1
    Retarded is not synonymous with late bloomer. Jul 12, 2017 at 0:00
  • @eyeballfrog I was avoiding using the actual word, but I was going by the Oxford definition: Less advanced in mental, physical, or social development than is usual for one's age. (I realize I posed a link to the Merriam-Webster's definition, which has caused confusion. My bad: en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/retarded)
    – DukeZhou
    Jul 12, 2017 at 2:37
  • 1
    Certainly opsimath was the first word that came to my own mind. :)
    – tchrist
    Jul 12, 2017 at 2:51
  • @DukeZhou It's just a word. And a late bloomer starts out behind, but catches up later. This is not the same as retarded, which describes someone who can't catch up. (Also, Oxford's definition seems inconsistent with common usage, which is exclusively about mental disability.) Jul 12, 2017 at 6:06
  • Thanks, all. Opsimath was the word I was searching for. I first heard it decades ago, maybe on Firing Line, from the sesquipedalian host.
    – David
    Jul 12, 2017 at 15:35

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