What's the difference between those two words? In the dictionary, it is translated as delay for both.

  • 2
    Delay, maybe? :)
    – tum_
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 19:28

2 Answers 2


"Запаздывание" is mostly a technical term. For example, a delay between input and output signals is "запаздывание сигнала", and you can't say "опоздание сигнала". Other examples:

Запаздывание потенциала - retarded potential
Система с запаздыванием - system with delay
Запаздывание затвора (фотоаппарата) - Shutter lag

"Опоздание" is a colloquial word for everyday use. For example:

Извините за опоздание - Sorry, I'm late


A very short answer is

запаздывание = being about to get late, lagging behind schedule (often chronic)
опоздание = being late (after the fact), having been late (usually a one-off occurrence)

Generally translation into English is heavily dependent on the context.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.