pace

1 of 3

noun

1
a
: rate of movement
the runner's pace
especially : an established rate of locomotion
b
: rate of progress
specifically : parallel rate of growth or development
supplies kept pace with demand
c
: an example to be emulated
specifically : first place in a competition
three strokes off the pace Time
d(1)
: rate of performance or delivery : tempo
a steady pace
on pace to set a record
especially : speed
serves with great pace
a pace bowler in cricket
(2)
: rhythmic animation : fluency
writes with color, with zest, and with paceAmy Loveman
2
: a manner of walking : tread
… walked slowly, with even, unhesitating paceWilla Cather
3
b
: any of various units of distance based on the length of a human step
4
a
paces plural : an exhibition or test of skills or capacities
the trainer put the tiger through its paces
b
: gait
especially : a fast 2-beat gait (as of the horse) in which the legs move in lateral pairs and support the animal alternately on the right and left legs

pace

2 of 3

verb

paced; pacing

intransitive verb

1
a
: to walk with often slow or measured tread
b
: to move along : proceed
2
: to go at a pace
used especially of a horse

transitive verb

1
a
: to measure by pacing
often used with off
paced off a 10-yard penalty
b
: to cover at a walk
could hear him pacing the floor
2
: to cover (a course) by pacing
used of a horse
3
a
: to set or regulate the pace of
taught them how to pace their solos for … impactRichard Goldstein
also : to establish a moderate or steady pace for (oneself)
b(1)
: to go before : precede
(2)
: to set an example for : lead
c
: to keep pace with

pace

3 of 3

preposition

pa·​ce ˈpā-(ˌ)sē How to pronounce pace (audio)
ˈpä-(ˌ)chā,
-(ˌ)kā How to pronounce pace (audio)
: contrary to the opinion of
usually used as an expression of deference to someone's contrary opinion
Easiness is a virtue in grammar, pace old-fashioned grammarians …Philip Howard
usually italics

Did you know?

Though used in English since the 19th century, the preposition pace has yet to shed its Latin mantle, and for that reason it's most at home in formal writing or in contexts in which one is playing at formality. The Latin word pace is a form of pax, meaning "peace" or "permission," and when used sincerely the word does indeed suggest a desire for both. This Latin borrowing is unrelated to the more common noun pace (as in "keeping pace") and its related verb ("pacing the room"); these also come from Latin, but from the word pandere, meaning "to spread."

Examples of pace in a Sentence

Noun We walked at a leisurely pace along the shore. The pace of the story was slow. His new album is selling at a blistering pace. Verb When she gets nervous she paces back and forth. He was pacing and muttering to himself. She paced the other runners for the first half of the race. Advertisements are paced so that they are shown more often during peak sales seasons. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In recent years this has changed at a glacial pace. Zenger News, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 The numbers mean Wall Street estimates are set to be revised higher, which will likely bring down the valuation once again if the share price doesn’t keep pace. Carmen Reinicke, Fortune, 22 Feb. 2024 But at the very least, there were multiple twists and a quick pace that kept Episode 1 engaging. Amber Dowling, Variety, 21 Feb. 2024 So far production has continued at the 13.3 million barrel a day pace, the federal Energy Information Administration says. David Lightman, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 With advances in numerical simulations keeping pace, both theorists and observers are sprinting to develop ways to solve the mysteries of star birth. Nia Imara, Scientific American, 20 Feb. 2024 There have been 15 so far this year, close to last year’s record pace. Mike Hendricks, Kansas City Star, 19 Feb. 2024 Also, the Stage 1 Slow Flow nipple only fits with the 4 ounce bottle (not the 8 ounce), which can be problematic if your older baby prefers a slower feeding pace. Laura Lu, Ms, Parents, 19 Feb. 2024 The lowest speed mode goes a leisurely pace of 9 mph, while the others top out at 19 mph and 22 mph, respectively. Kevin Brouillard, Travel + Leisure, 9 Feb. 2024
Verb
Sam LaPorta, 23, is a rookie tight end who paced Detroit in catches with nine and was a steady threat all day long. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Players want to pace themselves, and avoid injury in the spring. Bernie Pleskoff, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 In 2024, Live Nation said concert ticket sales are pacing up 6 percent, with 57 million tickets sold so far for this year. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 The Bucs are paced by Charlie Hutchison and Caleb Newman. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Feb. 2024 After the events unfolded, several police cars arrived at the West Hollywood building, and Ellis paced the sidewalk while talking on the phone, an anonymous bystander told the outlet. Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 18 Feb. 2024 Amelia Schrag paced Northgate (20-9) with 11 points, and Hana Neuman had 10 points. Joseph Dycus, The Mercury News, 9 Feb. 2024 Ryan Zink, who served sixty days in jail for his actions at the Capitol, paced the stage wearing a black blazer and jeans, excoriating his fellow-Republicans for their disloyalty. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 8 Feb. 2024 Her training regimen for Paris includes pacing herself after dealing with an injury—which hampered her chances for three straight world titles at the 2023 world championships in Budapest, where she was bested by her teammate Shericka Jackson and by U.S. track star Sha’Carri Richardson. Essence, 8 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pace.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English pas, from Anglo-French, stride, step, from Latin passus, from pandere to spread — more at fathom

Preposition

Latin, ablative of pac-, pax peace, permission — more at pact

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

circa 1522, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Preposition

1863, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pace was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near pace

Cite this Entry

“Pace.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pace. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

pace

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: rate of moving especially on foot
b
: rate of progress
the pace of the story was slow
2
a
: a manner of going on foot : gait
b
: a fast gait of a horse in which legs on the same side move together
3
: a single step or a measure based on the length of a human step

pace

2 of 2 verb
paced; pacing
1
: to walk with slow steady steps
pacing to and fro
2
: to cover at a walk
pace the floor
3
: to measure by paces
pace off twenty feet
4
: to set or regulate the pace of
tried to pace himself during the marathon
pacer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on pace

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