[pas-ing, pah-sing]



surpassingly; exceedingly; very.


the act of a person or thing that passes or causes something to pass.
a means or place of passage.

Nearby words

  1. passeriform,
  2. passerine,
  3. passible,
  4. passifloraceous,
  5. passim,
  6. passing bell,
  7. passing lane,
  8. passing note,
  9. passing shot,
  10. passingly


    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


[pas, pahs]

verb (used with object)

to move past; go by: to pass another car on the road.
to let go without notice, action, remark, etc.; leave unconsidered; disregard; overlook: Pass chapter two and go on to chapter three.
to omit the usual or regular payment of: The company decided to pass its dividend in the third quarter of the year.
to cause or allow to go through or beyond a gate, barrier, etc.: The guard checked the identification papers and then passed the visitor.
to go across or over (a stream, threshold, etc.); cross.
to endure or undergo: They passed the worst night of their lives.
to undergo or complete successfully: to pass an examination.
to cause or permit to complete successfully (an investigation, examination, course of study, etc.): I am passing the whole class this term.
to go beyond (a point, degree, stage, etc.); transcend; exceed; surpass.
to cause to go or extend farther: to pass a rope through a hole.
to cause to go, move, or march by: to pass troops in review.
to allot to oneself (a portion of time); spend: He decided to pass a year abroad.
to live through, utilize, or fill; occupy oneself during: How to pass the time?
to cause to circulate or spread; disseminate: to pass rumors.
to cause to be accepted or received: to pass a worthless check.
to convey, transfer, or transmit; deliver (often followed by on): Pass this memo on after reading it.
to convey from one person, hand, etc., to another: Please pass the salt.
to pledge: to pass one's word of honor to remain loyal.
to utter, pronounce, or speak: She passed a remark about every passerby.
to cause to go through something, as a process or agency: to pass returning travelers through customs.
to discharge or void from the body, as excrement or a kidney stone.
to sanction or approve, especially by vote: Congress passed the bill.
to obtain the approval or sanction of (a legislative body, committee, etc.), especially by a vote: The bill passed Congress on the second vote.
to express or pronounce, as an opinion: to pass judgment without knowing the facts.
Law. to place legal title or interest in (another) by a conveyance, a will, or other transfer.
(in feats of magic) to perform a pass on.
Tennis. to make a passing shot against (an opponent).
Sports. to transfer (the ball or puck) to a teammate.
Bullfighting. (of a bullfighter) to provoke and guide the charge of (a bull) with the capa or especially the muleta.

verb (used without object)

to go or move onward; proceed.
to come to or toward, then go beyond: to pass by a shop; to pass through town.
to go away; depart: The dizzy feeling will pass in a minute.
to elapse or slip by; be spent: The day passed very quickly for him.
to come to an end: The crisis soon passed.
to die.
to take place; happen; occur: What passed while I was on vacation?
to go by or move past: The funeral procession passed slowly.
to go about or circulate; be current.
to serve as a marginally acceptable substitute: The facsimile isn't very good but it will pass.
to live or be known as a member of a racial, religious, or ethnic group other than one's own, especially to live and be known as a white person although of black ancestry.
to be transferred or conveyed: The crown passed to the king's nephew.
to be interchanged, as between two persons: Sharp words passed between them.
to undergo transition or conversion: to pass from a solid to a liquid state.
to go or get through a barrier, test, course of study, etc., successfully: Of the twenty who took the exam, only twelve passed.
to go unheeded, unchallenged, or unremarked on: He decided to let the insult pass.
to express or pronounce an opinion, judgment, verdict, etc. (usually followed by on or upon): Will you pass on the authenticity of this drawing?
to be voided, as excrement or a kidney stone.
to obtain the vote of approval or sanction of a legislative body, official committee, or the like: The new tax bill finally passed.
  1. (of a member of an inquest or other deliberative body) to sit (usually followed by on or upon): to pass on a case of manslaughter.
  2. to adjudicate.
  3. to vest title or other legal interest in real or personal property in a new owner.
to throw a ball from one person to another, as in a game of catch.
Sports. to make a pass, as in football or ice hockey.
  1. to forgo one's opportunity to bid, play, etc.
  2. to throw in one's hand.
Fencing Obsolete. to thrust or lunge.


an act of passing.
a narrow route across a relatively low notch or depression in a mountain barrier.
a road, channel, or other way providing a means of passage, as through an obstructed region or other barrier.
a navigable channel, as at the mouth or in the delta of a river.
a permission or license to pass, go, come, or enter.
  1. a military document granting the right to cross lines or to enter or leave a military or naval base or building.
  2. written authority given a soldier to leave a station or duty for a specified period of time.
a free ticket or permit: two passes to a concert; a railroad pass.
South African. reference book(def 2).
Chiefly British. the act of passing a university or school examination or course without honors or distinction.
Sports. the transfer of a ball or puck from one teammate to another.
Baseball. base on balls.
Fencing. a thrust or lunge.
a single movement, effort, maneuver, etc.: He made a pass at the control tower of the enemy airfield.
  1. a gesture, action, or remark that is intended to be sexually inviting; amorous overture.
  2. a jab or poke with the arm, especially one that misses its mark.
Cards. the act or statement of not bidding or raising another bid: There have been two passes and now it's your bid.
(in feats of magic)
  1. a passing of the hand over, along, or before anything.
  2. the transference or changing of objects by or as by sleight of hand; a manipulation, as of a juggler.
a particular stage or state of affairs: The economic situation had come to a dreadful pass.
Bullfighting. a pase.
one passage of a tool over work or one passage of work through a machine.
Archaic. a witty remark or thrust.
Mining. an opening for delivering coal or ore to a lower level underground.

Verb Phrases

pass along/through, to add (incurred extra costs or expenses) to the amount charged a client or customer: Airlines were passing along the sudden increase in fuel prices.
pass away,
  1. to cease; end: All this trouble will pass away.
  2. to die: He passed away during the night.
pass for/as, to be accepted as; be considered: material that passed for silk; The candidate could pass as Latino or Anglo, appealing to both constituencies.
pass off,
  1. to present or offer (something) under false pretenses; dispose of deceptively: to pass off a spurious de Kooning on a gullible buyer.
  2. to cause to be accepted or received under a false identity: He passed himself off as a doctor.
  3. to cease gradually; end: The headache passed off in the late afternoon.
  4. to disregard or ignore.
  5. to continue to completion; occur: The meeting passed off without incident.
pass on, to die: The patient passed on after a long illness.
pass over,
  1. to disregard; ignore: Just pass over the first part of his letter.
  2. to fail to take notice of, consider, or choose: He was passed over for the promotion.
pass up, to refuse or neglect to take advantage of; reject: The opportunity may not come again, so don't pass it up.

Origin of pass

1175–1225; (v.) Middle English passen < Old French passer < Vulgar Latin *passāre, derivative of Latin passus step, pace1; (noun) Middle English; in part < Middle French passe (noun derivative of passer), in part noun derivative of passen

Related formspass·less, adjectiveout·pass, verb (used with object)sub·pass, noun

Synonym study

35, 76b, 79. See die1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for passing

British Dictionary definitions for passing



transitory or momentarya passing fancy
cursory or casual in action or mannera passing reference

adverb, adjective

archaic to an extreme degreethe events were passing strange


a place where or means by which one may pass, cross, ford, etc
a euphemism for death
in passing by the way; incidentallyhe mentioned your visit in passing



to go onwards or move by or past (a person, thing, etc)
to run, extend, or lead through, over, or across (a place)the route passes through the city
to go through or cause to go through (an obstacle or barrier)to pass a needle through cloth
to move or cause to move onwards or overhe passed his hand over her face
(tr) to go beyond or exceedthis victory passes all expectation
to gain or cause to gain an adequate or required mark, grade, or rating in (an examination, course, etc)the examiner passed them all
(often foll by away or by) to elapse or allow to elapsewe passed the time talking
pass the time of day with someone to spend time amicably with someone, esp in chatting, with no particular purpose
(intr) to take place or happenwhat passed at the meeting?
to speak or exchange or be spoken or exchangedangry words passed between them
to spread or cause to spreadwe passed the news round the class
to transfer or exchange or be transferred or exchangedthe bomb passed from hand to hand
(intr) to undergo change or transitionto pass from joy to despair
(when tr, often foll by down) to transfer or be transferred by inheritancethe house passed to the younger son
to agree to or sanction or to be agreed to or receive the sanction of a legislative body, person of authority, etcthe assembly passed 10 resolutions
(tr) (of a legislative measure) to undergo (a procedural stage) and be agreedthe bill passed the committee stage
(when tr, often foll by on or upon) to pronounce or deliver (judgment, findings, etc)the court passed sentence
to go or allow to go without comment or censurethe intended insult passed unnoticed
(intr) to opt not to exercise a right, as by not answering a question or not making a bid or a play in card games
physiol to discharge (urine, faeces, etc) from the body
pass water to urinate
(intr) to come to an end or disappearhis anger soon passed
(intr; usually foll by for or as) to be likely to be mistaken for or accepted as (someone or something else)you could easily pass for your sister
(intr; foll by away, on, or over) a euphemism for die 1 (def. 1)
(tr) mainly US to fail to declare (a dividend)
(intr; usually foll by on or upon) mainly US (of a court, jury, etc) to sit in judgment; adjudicate
sport to hit, kick, or throw (the ball) to another player
bring to pass archaic to cause to happen
come to pass to happen


the act of passing
  1. a route through a range of mountains where the summit is lower or where there is a gap between peaks
  2. (capital as part of a name)the Simplon Pass
a way through any difficult region
a permit, licence, or authorization to do something without restrictionshe has a pass to visit the museum on Sundays
  1. a document allowing entry to and exit from a military installation
  2. a document authorizing leave of absence
  1. the passing of a college or university examination to a satisfactory standard but not as high as honours
  2. (as modifier)a pass degree Compare honours (def. 2)
a dive, sweep, or bombing or landing run by an aircraft
a motion of the hand or of a wand as a prelude to or part of a conjuring trick
informal an attempt, in words or action, to invite sexual intimacy (esp in the phrase make a pass at)
a state of affairs or condition, esp a bad or difficult one (esp in the phrase a pretty pass)
sport the transfer of a ball from one player to another
fencing a thrust or lunge with a sword
bridge the act of passing (making no bid)
bullfighting a variant of pase
archaic a witty sally or remark


bridge a call indicating that a player has no bid to make

Word Origin for pass

C13: from Old French passer to pass, surpass, from Latin passūs step, pace 1

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 passing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for passing




To go across; go through.
To cause to move into a certain position.
To cease to exist; die.
To be voided from the body.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with passing


In addition to the idioms beginning with pass

  • pass away
  • pass by
  • pass for
  • pass muster
  • pass off
  • pass on
  • pass one's lips
  • pass out
  • pass over
  • pass the buck
  • pass the hat
  • pass the time
  • pass the torch
  • pass through one's mind
  • pass up
  • pass with flying colors

also see:

  • bring about (to pass)
  • come about (to pass)
  • cross (pass through) one's mind
  • head someone off (at the pass)
  • in passing
  • make (take) a pass at
  • ships that pass in the night
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.