[pas-pahr-too; French pahs-par-too]

noun, plural passe-par·touts [pas-pahr-tooz; French pahs-par-too] /ˌpæs pɑrˈtuz; French pɑs parˈtu/.

something that passes everywhere or provides a universal means of passage.
a master key; skeleton key.
an ornamental mat for a picture.
a method of framing in which a piece of glass is placed over a picture and is affixed to a backing by means of adhesive strips of paper or other material pasted over the edges.
paper prepared for this purpose.

Nearby words

  1. passbook,
  2. passbook savings account,
  3. passchendaele,
  4. passcode,
  5. passe,
  6. passed,
  7. passed ball,
  8. passed pawn,
  9. passel,
  10. passement

Origin of passe-partout

1635–45; < French: literally, (it) passes everywhere Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for passe-partout

British Dictionary definitions for passe-partout



a mounting for a picture in which strips of strong gummed paper are used to bind together the glass, picture, and backing
the gummed paper used for this
a mat, often decorated, on which a picture is mounted
something that secures entry everywhere, esp a master key

Word Origin for passe-partout

C17: from French, literally: pass everywhere

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 passe-partout



"master-key," 1670s, French, literally "pass everywhere," from passer "to pass" (see pass (v.)) + partout "everywhere," from par "through" (see per) + tout "all."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper