pass·​ing | \ ˈpa-siŋ How to pronounce passing (audio) \

Definition of passing

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the act of one that passes or causes to pass especially : death sense 1a
in passing
: by the way : incidentally



Definition of passing (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : going by or past a passing pedestrian
2 : having a brief duration a passing whim
3 obsolete : surpassing
4 : superficial a passing acquaintance a passing resemblance
5a : of, relating to, or used in or for the act or process of passing passing lanes
b : given on satisfactory completion of an examination or course of study a passing grade



Definition of passing (Entry 3 of 3)

: to a surpassing degree : exceedingly passing strange

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Examples of passing in a Sentence

Noun After her husband's passing, she moved to a smaller house. We all mourned his passing. Adjective Someone called out from a passing car. She sells flowers to passing motorists. Let's hope that these shoes are just a passing fad. a passing phase in childhood Adverb a passing strange turn of events
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With this proclamation, first made in 1422, when Charles VII succeeded Charles VI, the passing of an old order is made simultaneous with the advent of a new one. Namwali Serpell, The New York Review of Books, "In the Time of Monsters," 24 Mar. 2020 In Napa, Kristin Ranuio was already considering shutting down her Little Free Library, fearing that the passing of books might be unwise with the coronavirus spreading. Peter Hartlaub,, "Bay Area residents filling little libraries with food, toilet paper," 22 Mar. 2020 Having a fundamentally different sense of time—specifically not being able to estimate and record the passing of time—is part of many people's experience of ADHD. Isabelle O'carroll, SELF, "I Have ADHD. Here Are 9 Productivity Tips That Really Help Me," 18 Mar. 2020 Indeed, on New Year’s Day the NBA mourned the passing of commissioner emeritus David Stern. Dallas News, "Mavericks, NBA teams face at least a 30-day hiatus — if the 2019-20 season resumes at all," 13 Mar. 2020 Every four years, those quarter days are combined and added to the calendar to synchronize the Earth’s orbit and the passing of the seasons. Leada Gore |, al, "Leap Day 2020: Feb. 29 freebies, discounts, deals to celebrate Leap Year," 29 Feb. 2020 It's been updated after the passing of Freeman Dyson, the sphere's theoretical creator. Adam Hadhazy, Popular Mechanics, "Could We Build a Dyson Sphere?," 28 Feb. 2020 The Memorial basketball team, less than two weeks after the passing of its acclaimed former coach, secured its first district championship since 1988 to close the regular season. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Memorial clinches first district championship in 32 years," 24 Feb. 2020 The main event that night was the passing of the team captaincy, from Anker to Hilaree Nelson. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Survivor’s Guilt in the Mountains," 24 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The difference is that the Q2 fall would be a passing hangover, since the economy would be recovering strongly moving into 2021. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Will ‘The Great Cessation’ be worse than the Great Recession? Here’s what we can tell so far," 25 Mar. 2020 First-round matchups begin Monday, and this page will continue to be updated with each passing round. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Bracket challenge: Which is the best logo in Arizona sports history?," 16 Mar. 2020 Paul picked off two steals in the first six minutes, reading the passing lane for a breakaway, high-arcing layup, and helping under the basket to take away a layup, before finding Luguentz Dort for a corner 3. Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' 114-107 loss to OKC shows why guards are so important in today's NBA," 5 Mar. 2020 Lambo and Mannion both displayed tenacious rebounding skills and deft passing abilities out of the post. Greg Levinsky,, "Watertown outlasts Fiona Mannion, Latin Academy to reach D3 North quarterfinals," 24 Feb. 2020 His quick hands allowed him to swipe the ball away without fouling, and his high basketball IQ allowed him to dissect a developing play and jump into the passing lane, making him a pest off the ball. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "After coughing up an earlier possible signature win, IU makes sure to finish the deal this time," 24 Feb. 2020 On another visit to the school to observe some classrooms — which, by all accounts, have great teachers and solid academics — all hell broke loose in the hallway during the passing period. Heather Knight,, "‘Lord of the Flies’: Fights, bullying, chaos upend once-stellar San Francisco middle school," 14 Feb. 2020 And then there was the idea for Outer Darkness/Chew, which leans more sci-fi, but is a trope that will be super familiar to anyone with just a passing knowledge of Star Trek. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "How Comics Crossover 'Outer Darkness' and 'Chew' Came Together," 6 Mar. 2020 Anyone with even a passing knowledge of European history will know what to expect when the family freezes at the sound of someone pounding on the door. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Leopoldstadt,’ Tom Stoppard Reckons With His Jewish Roots," 12 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'passing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of passing


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for passing

Time Traveler

The first known use of passing was in the 14th century

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Statistics for passing

Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Passing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for passing


How to pronounce passing (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of passing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of moving toward and beyond something
used to talk about the movement of time usually + of
formal : a person's death



English Language Learners Definition of passing (Entry 2 of 2)

: moving past someone or something
used to talk about time that is going past
: lasting for only a short time


pass·​ing | \ ˈpa-siŋ How to pronounce passing (audio) \

Kids Definition of passing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : going by or past passing cars
2 : lasting only for a short time a passing fad
3 : showing haste or lack of attention a passing glance
4 : used for going past passing lanes
5 : showing satisfactory work in a test or course of study a passing mark



Kids Definition of passing (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of going by or going away We await the passing of winter.

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More from Merriam-Webster on passing

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for passing

Spanish Central: Translation of passing

Nglish: Translation of passing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of passing for Arabic Speakers

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