The term belated is an adjective which means having been delayed. For instance, a birthday card sent or a birthday greeting done too late. Its noun and adverb forms are belatedness and belatedly respectively. We can say that a birthday card is sent too late if it is sent later than the expected time (i.e. birthday). Its synonymous words include late, overdue, behindhand and tardy while a word related to it is unpunctual. For a birthday greeting, you can either say “belated happy birthday” or “happy birthday in advance”, depending on when you do the greeting: is it before or after the birthday?
The term also refers to something that comes or being later than the useful, customary or expected time. Another term synonymous to it is “detained” which means kept in custody or confined temporarily. For example, “Many suspects were detained by the police for scrutiny”. Additionally, the term may also refer to something that is out-of-date like the “out-of-date view of world economy”. It is also used for several popular quotations like the one written by Leon Askin, “At the end of my life, I have achieved belated frame and recognition in the city of my birth”.
The antonyms for this term are early, punctual, on time and timely. If you are sending a birthday card, for instance, late or too late, you need to know how it should be made or done. The messages to be written must somehow express your being apologetic for the delay in sending it. Read this good example of a late birthday card message: “Belated Happy Birthday to someone special to me who is so dear, kind, generous, loving, caring, good- looking and intelligent. I hope that this special greeting was worth waiting for from somebody like me who constantly, truly and endlessly loves you”. You may have noticed that even though it has been sent late, the sender wishes to extend his profound love and gratitude to the recipient without having to think about the fact that it was not sent at the expected time.
You may find this another example interesting and a bit ridiculous: “Do not think of this as a late 18th birthday card. Think of it as an early birthday card for next year. There are lots of other late birthday card messages or lines like the following: “This birthday card must have been lost by the mail carrier. He’s the one at fault and not me”; “I apologize for being late for your birthday. This card must not have known your home address”; “I am so sorry for missing out on your debut party. Have you left even a slice of cake for me?’; “I asked my girlfriend to remind me of your birthday but she forgot to do so. For failing a special friend like you, I can break up with her”. These interesting and touching lines can erase your friend’s madness or disappointment in you. It is good for you to know where you should tickle her.
The bottom line in this context is that it does not matter if your happy birthday messages are belatedly spoken for as long as they are heartily given to a loved one. Considering that good wishes do not get old as time goes by, you need not to worry about making a mistake like this. Yes, you may have forgotten to greet a friend on the expected day or time and made her feel bad but making it up to her after a day or two is enough reason for her to thank you with a sweet, understanding and forgiving smile on her lips.