verb (used with object), paced, pac·ing.

verb (used without object), paced, pac·ing.


    put through one's paces, to cause someone to demonstrate his or her ability or to show her or his skill: The French teacher put her pupils through their paces for the visitors.
    set the pace, to act as an example for others to equal or rival; be the most progressive or successful: an agency that sets the pace in advertising.

Origin of pace

1250–1300; Middle English pas < Old French < Latin passus step, pace, equivalent to pad-, variant stem of pandere to spread (the legs, in walking) + -tus suffix of v. action, with dt > ss

Synonyms for pace

8. step, amble, rack, trot, jog, canter, gallop, walk, run, singlefoot. 15. Pace, plod, trudge refer to a steady and monotonous kind of walking. Pace suggests steady, measured steps as of one completely lost in thought or impelled by some distraction: to pace up and down. Plod implies a slow, heavy, laborious, weary walk: The mailman plods his weary way. Trudge implies a spiritless but usually steady and doggedly persistent walk: The farmer trudged to his village to buy his supplies.

Antonyms for pace


[pey-see, pah-chey; Latin pah-ke]


with all due respect to; with the permission of: I do not, pace my rival, hold with the ideas of the reactionists.

Origin of pace

1860–65; < Latin pāce in peace, by favor (ablative singular of pāx peace, favor, pardon, grace)

hic requiescit in pace

[heek re-kwee-e-sheet een pah-che]


here rests in peace: a phrase used on tombstones before the name of the deceased.

requiescat in pace

[re-kwee-es-kaht in pah-che]


may he (or she) rest in peace. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pace

Contemporary Examples of pace

Historical Examples of pace

  • He began to pace the floor again from one room to the other.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He made it his point to see that she was never urged beyond that pace.

  • Now, she quickened her pace, anxious for the plunge that should set the term to sorrow.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • He should then pace the distance between himself and that animal.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • He was followed by two young women, who flanked him by a pace or so to the rear.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for pace




  1. a single step in walking
  2. the distance covered by a step
a measure of length equal to the average length of a stride, approximately 3 feetSee also Roman pace, geometric pace, military pace
speed of movement, esp of walking or running
rate or style of proceeding at some activityto live at a fast pace
manner or action of stepping, walking, etc; gait
any of the manners in which a horse or other quadruped walks or runs, the three principal paces being the walk, trot, and canter (or gallop)
a manner of moving, natural to the camel and sometimes developed in the horse, in which the two legs on the same side of the body are moved and put down at the same time
architect a step or small raised platform
keep pace with to proceed at the same speed as
put someone through his paces to test the ability of someone
set the pace to determine the rate at which a group runs or walks or proceeds at some other activity
stand the pace or stay the pace to keep up with the speed or rate of others


(tr) to set or determine the pace for, as in a race
(often foll by about, up and down, etc) to walk with regular slow or fast paces, as in boredom, agitation, etcto pace the room
(tr often foll by out) to measure by pacesto pace out the distance
(intr) to walk with slow regular stridesto pace along the street
(intr) (of a horse) to move at the pace (the specially developed gait)

Word Origin for pace

C13: via Old French from Latin passūs step, from pandere to spread, unfold, extend (the legs as in walking)




with due deference to: used to acknowledge politely someone who disagrees with the speaker or writer

Word Origin for pace

C19: from Latin, from pāx peace


n acronym for (in England and Wales)

Police and Criminal Evidence Act
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 pace

late 13c., "a step in walking; rate of motion," from Old French pas "a step, pace, trace," and directly from Latin passus, passum "a step, pace, stride," noun use of past participle of pandere "to stretch (the leg), spread out," probably from PIE *pat-no-, from root *pete- "to spread" (cf. Greek petannynai "to spread out," petalon "a leaf," patane "plate, dish;" Old Norse faðmr "embrace, bosom," Old English fæðm "embrace, bosom, fathom," Old Saxon fathmos "the outstretched arms"). Also, "a measure of five feet" [Johnson]. Pace-setter in fashion is from 1895.


"with the leave of," 1863, from Latin pace, ablative of pax "peace," as in pace tua "with all deference to you;" from PIE *pak- "to fasten" (see pax). "Used chiefly as a courteous or ironical apology for a contradiction or difference of opinion" [OED].


1510s, "to walk at a steady rate," from pace (n.). Meaning "to measure by pacing" is from 1570s. That of "to set the pace for" (another) is from 1886. Related: Paced; pacing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pace


see change of pace; keep pace; put someone through his or her paces; set the pace; snail's pace.

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