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

noun,plural passe-par·touts [pas-pahr-tooz; French pahs-par-too]. /ˌpæs pɑrˈtuz; French pɑs parˈtu/.
  1. something that passes everywhere or provides a universal means of passage.

  1. an ornamental mat for a picture.

  2. 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.

  3. paper prepared for this purpose.

Origin of passe-partout

First recorded in 1635–45; from French: literally, “(it) passes everywhere”

Words Nearby passe-partout Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use passe-partout in a sentence

  • This can be done still easier by using strips of passe-partout binding, or strips used for binding lantern slides.

  • It is set in an oval passe-partout, and requires only a glass over it to fit it for placing on a wall.

  • There is an exquisite ivory-type of Marjorie, in passe-partout, on the drawing room mantel-piece.

    Marjorie Daw | Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  • The manner was then to repeat the engraved borders of titles, the passe-partout, in the centre of which the text was printed.

    The Printed Book | Henri Bouchot
  • So if it wasn't a passe-partout, it was non-suited, quoad existence.

    A Likely Story | William De Morgan

British Dictionary definitions for passe-partout


/ (ˌpæspɑːˈtuː, French pɑspartu) /

  1. a mounting for a picture in which strips of strong gummed paper are used to bind together the glass, picture, and backing

  2. the gummed paper used for this

  1. a mat, often decorated, on which a picture is mounted

  2. something that secures entry everywhere, esp a master key

Origin of 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