[ pas-ing ]
See synonyms for passing on
  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.

  1. done, given, etc., in passing; cursory: a passing mention.

  2. surpassing, preeminent, or extreme.

  3. indicating satisfactory performance in a course, on a paper, in a test, etc.: a passing grade on a test.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Idioms about passing

  1. in passing, by the way; incidentally: The speaker mentioned his latest book in passing.

Origin of passing

First recorded in 1275–1325; pass + -ing1 for the noun senses; pass + -ing2 for the adjective senses

Other words from passing

  • pass·ing·ly, adverb
  • pass·ing·ness, noun
  • un·pass·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use passing in a sentence

  • And the houses stood drawn up in a row alongside the track to watch for these passings.

    Cabin Fever | B. M. Bower
  • Ten passings of the pilgrims off to Mecca His wife has lain in that sarcophagus, Embalmed and waiting, as he thinks, to rise.

    The Immortal Lure | Cale Young Rice
  • Her mother knew its times and seasons, and its passings into abeyance, not into extinction.

    The Story of Louie | Oliver Onions
  • My muse has other things to sing of besides rallies and charges, scrimmages and drop kicks, touch-downs and passings.

  • Outside still lay the broad avenues of dark where one heard strange passings; where one was in touch with the ungoverned.

    The Web of the Golden Spider | Frederick Orin Bartlett

British Dictionary definitions for passing


/ (ˈpɑːsɪŋ) /

  1. transitory or momentary: a passing fancy

  2. cursory or casual in action or manner: a passing reference

adverb, adjective
  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. a euphemism for death

  1. in passing by the way; incidentally: he mentioned your visit in passing

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