View synonyms for passing


[ pas-ing ]


  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.

  6. living or being known as a member of a racial, religious, or ethnic group other than one's own, especially living and being known as a white person although of Black ancestry:

    Employees with a passing racial identity expressed frequent discomfort in the workplace.

  7. Sometimes Offensive. being known or perceived as a gender other than the one assigned at birth:

    Passing women who dress and live as men have existed throughout history.

    The environment might be safer for a passing trans man than for someone who is obviously transgender.


  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.


/ ˈpɑːsɪŋ /


  1. transitory or momentary

    a passing fancy

  2. cursory or casual in action or manner

    a passing reference


  1. archaic.
    to an extreme degree

    the events were passing strange


  1. a place where or means by which one may pass, cross, ford, etc
  2. See death
    a euphemism for death
  3. in passing
    in passing by the way; incidentally

    he mentioned your visit in passing

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Other Words From

  • pass·ing·ly adverb
  • pass·ing·ness noun
  • un·pass·ing adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of passing1

First recorded in 1275–1325; pass + -ing 1 for the noun senses; pass + -ing 2( def ) for the adjective senses

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. in passing, by the way; incidentally:

    The speaker mentioned his latest book in passing.

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Example Sentences

Both teams rushed the ball fairly well — the Bucs had 14 carries for 60 yards and the Chiefs had 11 for 57 — but Kansas City got much of that production from quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has struggled in the passing game.

For Green, though, his passing, screening and acumen are critical to opening the door for Curry to carry the scoring load.

He was used sparingly by the Raiders in the passing game this season, catching 13 passes for 69 yards and two scores.

The Bills struggled when the passing game was thrown off rhythm in 2020.

The league is shifting more and more to the passing game, allowing average quarterbacks to tally higher yardage totals just by virtue of suiting up under center.

The big slug happened to hit the suspect in the street, passing through his arm and then striking Police Officer Andrew Dossi.

A passing off-duty school safety officer named Fred Lucas said that he had been told the man was a drug dealer.

While Drake is redefining realness, Iggy is effectively “passing.”

Lawmaking by legislatures is also a one-way ratchet—Legislators get credit for passing laws, not pruning them.

It was a Republican Congress working with a Democratic president that succeeded in passing the welfare reform bill the first time.

At present, Louis was too self-absorbed by the struggles within him, to look deep into what was passing around him.

Again the sallow fingers began to play with the book-covers, passing from one to another, but always slowly and gently.

In passing to her own chamber she met the Emperor, and, in the agitation of her maternal fears, told him all that had passed.

Passing, now, to the other side of elasticity—i.e., contractility—can we say as much?

It may be noted in passing that in the three miracles in Matthew of exorcising a blinding demon the title “Son of David” is used.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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