Nearby words

  1. passus,
  2. password,
  3. passy,
  4. passé,
  5. passé composé,
  6. past continuous,
  7. past life therapy,
  8. past master,
  9. past mistress,
  10. past one's prime

Origin of past

1250–1300; Middle English; variant spelling of passed, past participle of pass

Can be confusedpassed past paste Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for past

British Dictionary definitions for past



completed, finished, and no longer in existencepast happiness
denoting or belonging to all or a segment of the time that has elapsed at the present momentthe past history of the world
denoting a specific unit of time that immediately precedes the present onethe past month
(prenominal) denoting a person who has held and relinquished an office or position; formera past president
grammar denoting any of various tenses of verbs that are used in describing actions, events, or states that have been begun or completed at the time of utteranceCompare aorist, imperfect (def. 4), perfect (def. 8)


the past the period of time or a segment of it that has elapsedforget the past
the history, experience, or background of a nation, person, etca soldier with a distinguished past
an earlier period of someone's life, esp one that contains events kept secret or regarded as disreputable
  1. a past tense
  2. a verb in a past tense


at a specified or unspecified time before the present; agothree years past
on or onwardsI greeted him but he just walked past


beyond in timeit's past midnight
beyond in place or positionthe library is past the church
moving beyond; in a direction that passeshe walked past me
beyond or above the reach, limit, or scope ofhis foolishness is past comprehension
beyond or above in number or amountto count past ten
past it informal unable to perform the tasks one could do when one was younger
not put it past someone to consider someone capable of (the action specified)

Word Origin for past

C14: from passed, past participle of pass


The past participle of pass is sometimes wrongly spelt past: the time for recriminations has passed (not past)

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 past
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with past


In addition to the idioms beginning with past

  • past master
  • past one's prime

also see:

  • live in (the past)
  • not put something past someone
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.