\ ˈpās How to pronounce pace (audio) \

Definition of pace

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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 pace— Amy Loveman
2 : a manner of walking : tread … walked slowly, with even, unhesitating pace— Willa Cather
b : any of various units of distance based on the length of a human step
4a 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


paced; pacing

Definition of pace (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : 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

1a : 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
3a : to set or regulate the pace of taught them how to pace their solos for … impact— Richard 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
pa·​ce | \ ˈpā-(ˌ)sē How to pronounce pace (audio) ; ˈpä-(ˌ)chā, -(ˌ)kā How to pronounce pace (audio) \

Definition of pace (Entry 3 of 3)

: 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

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Synonyms for pace

Synonyms: Verb

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Though used in English for nearly 150 years, 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This leakage has more than doubled the pace of the global phosphorus cycle, devastating water quality around the world. Julia Rosen, The Atlantic, "We Broke Phosphorus," 8 Feb. 2021 Harris, a grandfather from Talladega whose father was the local pharmacist and uncle was a small-town doctor, is as eager as anyone to accelerate the pace of vaccine rollout. al, "How long will it take to vaccinate Alabama and how can we speed it up?," 7 Feb. 2021 The novel is much like Tiller himself, a strangely meek yet cocky young man who tells his story with the pace of someone setting you up for a scam. New York Times, "Chang-rae Lee’s Global Revision of the Suburban Novel," 5 Feb. 2021 Early in the course of that disease, there are changes in the pace of the patients' speech, with pauses distributed seemingly at random. Gina Kolata, Star Tribune, "Alzheimer's prediction may be found in writing tests," 4 Feb. 2021 The Massachusetts rollout has been criticized for the slow pace of vaccinations. Deanna Pan,, "A vaccination site in Roxbury, but for whom?," 2 Feb. 2021 Biden has indicated his frustration with the pace of negotiations, and last week, some 847,000 people applied for unemployment benefits in a sign of the challenge facing his new administration. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Mixed signals: White House says there is time to negotiate 'urgent' coronavirus package," 1 Feb. 2021 But less than two weeks into his presidency, Biden showed frustration with the pace of negotiations at a time when the economy exhibited further evidence of wear from the pandemic. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, "Biden invites aid talks with GOP senators," 1 Feb. 2021 But less than two weeks into his presidency, Biden showed frustration with the pace of negotiations for relief at a time when the economy is showing further signs of wear from the pandemic. Aamer Madhani, Chron, "GOP lawmakers urge Biden to meet with them on virus relief," 31 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That’s because shipping companies are trying to pace the flow and are putting shipping restrictions on some large retailers. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Shipping delays are expected to surge," 2 Dec. 2020 Figuring out which is which, and how to pace them, can be the difference between faltering in the final furlough and taking home the Kentucky Derby’s $1.3 million winner’s payout. Christa Lesté-lasserre, Science | AAAS, "The best way to win a horse race? Mathematicians may have the answer," 2 Dec. 2020 Senior Adam Johnson had two goals and an assist to pace the Zephyrs, ranked No. 5 in Class 1A, s past the Spartans at the St. Croix Rec Center. Star Tribune, "Thursday's prep sports roundup," 29 Jan. 2021 Brad Marchand, who helped pace Saturday’s win over the Flyers with a three-point night, added two more in the win, which Boston nabbed despite squandering a two-goal lead. Kevin Paul Dupont,, "Bruins win despite two-goal squander, Craig Smith potting OT winner vs. Pittsburgh," 26 Jan. 2021 Others lean against work benches or stair railings or pace back and forth in the shadow of a gargantuan telescope. Adam Tschorn, Los Angeles Times, "Live from Mt. Wilson: A fashion show at the top of the world," 21 Jan. 2021 Scored 18 points to pace four players in double figures as Timberview (12-3, 6-1 District 8-5A), ranked No. 8 in the state in 5A, beat Burleson Centennial 84-47. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, "Basketball replay: Plano East girls win on a shot with one second left; Richardson boys beat Jesuit at buzzer," 20 Jan. 2021 Senior guard Isaiah Young scored 16 points and freshman Jonas Nichols had 14 to pace the Knights (8-1) on the road. Matt Goul, cleveland, "‘Late bloomer’ Marquis Barnett is now cooking for Brunswick: Boys basketball rewind," 16 Jan. 2021 Try to pace yourself and take things slowly on Tuesday, as speedy Mercury creates a square with chaotic Uranus in retrograde. Venus Australis,, "Your Horoscope This Week," 10 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pace.' 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 pace


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


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


1863, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pace

Noun and Verb

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


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

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Time Traveler for pace

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pace

Last Updated

17 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pace.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for pace



English Language Learners Definition of pace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the speed at which someone or something moves
: the speed at which something happens
: a single step or the length of a single step



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

: to walk back and forth across the same space again and again especially because you are nervous
: to control or set the speed of (someone or something)


\ ˈpās How to pronounce pace (audio) \

Kids Definition of pace

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the speed of moving forward or ahead
2 : the speed at which something is done or happens The pace of production needs to increase.
3 : a horse's gait in which the legs on the same side move at the same time
4 : a single step or its length


paced; pacing

Kids Definition of pace (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to walk back and forth across The nervous man began pacing the floor.
2 : to walk with slow steps
3 : to measure by steps We paced off the length of the garden.
4 : to set or regulate the speed at which something is done or happens You have to pace yourself when exercising.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pace

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pace

Nglish: Translation of pace for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pace for Arabic Speakers

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