What is the correct word to describe the people who have not finished their work after the deadline?

For the antonym, there is finisher, but I can't find *unfinisher in the dictionary.

  • Maybe non-finisher?
    – neil
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 10:39
  • 1
    Slackers! maybe.
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 11:26
  • ...... dead ................................ Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:20
  • 1
    Close-voters, what is non-constructive about this question? Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 15:58
  • Don't you mean people who have not finished their work before the deadline? These would be the people who do finish after, or who never finish. Your phrasing seems to be logically similar to a double negative.
    – WarrenT
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 0:53

7 Answers 7


The word I use at work is just "late". They're all late.

Unfinisher doesn't exist, but non-finisher does.

Your question is a little ambiguous though. Are you looking for a word for people who do finish, but after the deadline (flaky), or for people who never complete the work at all (non-finisher)?

  • If you go by the questions title, "Word for people who don't make their deadline", then this answer is correct. :)
    – Reactgular
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 16:02
  • So, what do you call a person who is late for a deadline? The question is looking for a noun as its answer. Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 16:11


Occurring, arriving, acting, or done after the scheduled, expected, or usual time; late.

There's also under-performing which doesn't imply anything about deadlines, but describes people who don't meet the expectations.


A person who regularly fails to accomplish what is expected is often called an underachiever. This is not just limited to lateness but other poor showings.

This author suggests a neologistic phrase time optimist for someone who chronically believes that they have more time than they do.


The words finisher and deadline are not related, because deadline refers to a date and finisher refers to a state. A person is either a finisher or they are not.

Perhaps finisher vs procrastinator would be the best pairing.

John Smith always finishes before the deadline, but Mary Smith finishes after the deadline. They're both finishers; deadline is just a reference to a date. You have to apply logical rules for it to make any sense.

The opposite of finish is start, but there is no opposite for finisher. You could say Mary Smith is a starter but that has a completely different meaning than the opposite of finisher.

One could say the opposite of finisher is quitter. Since someone who never finishes must have quit.

Furthermore, the question in a way is in error, since a finisher could also be someone who always finishes after the deadline, but at least they always finish.


In scheduling theory, The standard terminology for how soon an action’s completion occurs before its deadline is called “earliness.” How far an action’s completion occurs after its deadline is called “tardiness.” Earliness and tardiness are formally defined in terms of “lateness,” as follows: lateness = completion time - deadline; earliness = max [0, -lateness]; tardiness = max [0, lateness].


Procrastinator is someone who keeps delaying things.

  • but that is completely unrelated to missing deadlines or not. Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:23
  • unrelated to deadlines, is true, but so is finisher. I think this answer is valid.
    – Reactgular
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 17:02

I simply call them 'procrastinators'. Though, the term itself doesn't imply missing deadlines. 'Behind' can imply finishing late, but can also be used to determine their progress within the scope of a project that will be completed on time.

A few synonyms I've found that may work depending on the content...

  • Belated
  • Unpunctual
  • Delayed
  • Tardy
  • Delinquent
  • Overdue
  • Dilatory
  • Remiss
  • Lackadaisical

src: http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/belated and simply clicking around within.

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