• synonyms


[pas-ing, pah-sing]
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  1. going by or past; elapsing: He was feeling better with each passing day.
  2. brief, fleeting, or fortuitous; transitory: to take a passing fancy to something.
  3. done, given, etc., in passing; cursory: a passing mention.
  4. surpassing, preeminent, or extreme.
  5. indicating satisfactory performance in a course, on a paper, in a test, etc.: a passing grade on a test.
  1. surpassingly; exceedingly; very.
  1. the act of a person or thing that passes or causes something to pass.
  2. a means or place of passage.
  1. in passing, by the way; incidentally: The speaker mentioned his latest book in passing.

Origin of passing

Middle English word dating back to 1275–1325; see origin at pass, -ing2, -ing1
Related formspass·ing·ly, adverbpass·ing·ness, nounun·pass·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for in passing


  1. transitory or momentarya passing fancy
  2. cursory or casual in action or mannera passing reference
adverb, adjective
  1. archaic to an extreme degreethe events were passing strange
  1. a place where or means by which one may pass, cross, ford, etc
  2. a euphemism for death
  3. in passing by the way; incidentallyhe mentioned your visit in passing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for in passing



"in a (sur)passing degree, surpassingly," late 14c., from pass (v.).



"death," 1869, verbal noun from pass (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with in passing

in passing

Incidentally, by the way, as in “It may be remarked in passing” (Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, 1849). [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.