Origin of past

1250–1300; Middle English; variant spelling of passed, past participle of pass
Can be confusedpassed past paste
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for past

Contemporary Examples of past

Historical Examples of past

  • He could not avoid contrasting this behaviour with his past preaching.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • But the first words he uttered showed a total unconsciousness of past events.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • Plato perceived that the contemplative maiden was busy with memories of the past.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • I could see she was annoyed and a little worried, because he was past taking notice.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • “I am afraid he is past ransom,” said the youth, shaking his head.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge


British Dictionary definitions for past

past

adjective

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)

noun

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
grammar
  1. a past tense
  2. a verb in a past tense

adverb

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

preposition

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

usage

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
adj.

c.1300, "done with, over," from past participle of passen "go by" (see pass (v.)). Past participle is recorded from 1798; past tense from 1813.

n.

"times gone by," 1580s, from past (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with past

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.