Why There Is No Such Thing As a "Belated Birthday"

Updated on May 19, 2020
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

We've all heard this phrase a million times. But does it actually make sense?
We've all heard this phrase a million times. But does it actually make sense?

This information is not meant to make anyone feel guilty for sending belated birthday cards or wishing someone a happy belated birthday. Instead, it is meant to shed light on the popular phrase and point out its widespread misuse.

Good Intentions

When people fail to acknowledge a person's birthday on the exact day, they often try to make up for it by sending a "Happy belated birthday" card or telling the recipient "Happy belated birthday." While the intention is good, there is no such thing as a belated birthday. Therefore, all "Happy belated birthday" cards should be banned. In fact, they should never have been designed and put on the market in the first place.

The Truth of the Matter

It is impossible for someone's birthday to be belated. Everybody's birthday is always on time.

Belated: Definition

According to dictionaries, the word "belated" is an adjective that describes something that is late. The word also means coming late or after the expected time. It is another way of saying something was delayed, detained, not on schedule, or not on time.

Based on these definitions, it is impossible for a birthday to be "late" or "belated." Birthdays are always on time. Therefore, the wording on the card has the adjective in the wrong place—it describes the birthday being late rather than the greeting. Since it was not the birthday that was late, what was late?

The Greeting (Not the Birthday) Was Late

It is impossible for someone's birthday to be late. Every birthday is always on time, even if some people don't remember to acknowledge it on the actual date. The greeting is late—not the birthday.

The major greeting card companies such as Hallmark and American Greeting Card have gotten it all wrong. No one has caught on to the inappropriate wording after all these years and after millions of cards have been sold.

Let's fix this!
Let's fix this! | Source

Alternative to Sending "Happy Belated Birthday" Cards

If you remember someone's birthday after the birthday has passed, you can still send a card with the appropriate wording. Look for a card that says, "Belated Happy Birthday" instead of "Happy Belated Birthday" where the adjective is misplaced. It is not possible for someone to go back to the actual date and be happy. However, the person can go forward with your good wishes if you say it the correct way. Remember, it is the wish that is belated, not the birthday.

Your verbal greeting should have the same wording because the same explanation applies.

Food for Thought

Some people might not agree with the information in this article. That's their right and privilege. However, there are some people who really do want to know the correct way to say things.

Yes, it is a minor thing to consider in the scheme of life's problems, but it is true nonetheless. It seems to be something no one has thought about before. Perhaps they will think about it now.

Do you agree with this information?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Martha Rogers 

      13 days ago

      So informative. loved it. Makes a lot of sense but Never in my life thought of it this way. Keep writing and informing us. Like you said it's a personal thing but it makes lots of sense.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, holidappy.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)