Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

past

play
adjective \ˈpast\

Simple Definition of past

  • : having existed in a time before the present : from, done, or used in an earlier time

  • —used to refer to a time that has gone by recently

  • —used to say what someone or something was in the past

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of past

  1. 1 a :  ago <12 years past> b :  just gone or elapsed <for the past few months>

  2. 2 :  having existed or taken place in a period before the present :  bygone

  3. 3 :  of, relating to, or constituting a verb tense that is expressive of elapsed time and that in English is usually formed by internal vowel change (as in sang) or by the addition of a suffix (as in laughed)

  4. 4 :  having served as a specified officer in an organization <past president>

Examples of past in a sentence

  1. She was hired based on her past experience in sales.

  2. <a past editor of the newspaper>



Origin and Etymology of past

Middle English, from past participle of passen to pass


First Known Use: 14th century


2

past

preposition

Simple Definition of past

  • : at the farther side of (something) : beyond (a particular place)

  • : up to and beyond (a person or place)

  • : later than (a time)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of past

  1. 1 a :  beyond the age for or of <past playing with dolls> b :  after <half past two>

  2. 2 a :  at the farther side of :  beyond b :  in a course or direction going close to and then beyond <drove past the house>

  3. 3 obsolete :  more than

  4. 4 :  beyond the capacity, range, or sphere of <past belief>

Examples of past in a sentence

  1. The office is two blocks past the intersection.

  2. Turn left just past the stairs.

  3. We drove past the house.

  4. I must have walked right past her.

  5. He looked past me to the next customer.



14th Century

First Known Use of past

14th century


3

past

noun

Simple Definition of past

  • : an earlier time : the time before the present

  • : the events of a person's life, of a place, etc., before the present time

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of past

  1. 1 a :  time gone by b :  something that happened or was done in the past <regret the past>

  2. 2 a :  the past tense of a language b :  a verb form in the past tense

  3. 3 :  a past life, history, or course of action; especially :  one that is kept secret

pastless

play \ˈpas(t)-ləs\ adjective

Examples of past in a sentence

  1. Past, present, and future are all linked together.

  2. The past of walk is walked.



1520

First Known Use of past

1520


4

past

adverb

Simple Definition of past

  • : to and beyond a certain point or time

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of past

  1. :  so as to reach and go beyond a point near at hand <drove past>

Examples of past in a sentence

  1. Several weeks went past before we heard from her.



1546

First Known Use of past

1546

Rhymes with past



PAST Defined for Kids

1

past

play
adjective \ˈpast\

Definition of past for Students

  1. 1 :  of or relating to a time that has gone by <I've worked for the past month.>

  2. 2 :  relating to a verb tense that expresses a time gone by

  3. 3 :  no longer serving <a past president>




2

past

play
preposition

Definition of past for Students

  1. 1 :  2beyond 1 <We left at ten minutes past five.>

  2. 2 :  going close to and then beyond <She walked past my house.>




3

past

play
noun

Definition of past for Students

  1. 1 :  a former time <In the past trains went from here to New York.>

  2. 2 :  life or history of a time gone by <We're studying the nation's past.>




4

past

play
adverb

Definition of past for Students

  1. :  so as to pass by or beyond <A deer ran past.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up past? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a jerking and twitching of the body

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

brumal vernal estival hiemal
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ