\ˈpās \

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

3a : step sense 2a(1)

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; ˈpä-(ˌ)chā, -(ˌ)kā \

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 & Antonyms for pace

Synonyms: Verb

advance, come, come along, do, fare, forge, get along, get on, go, go along, go off, march, proceed, progress

Antonyms: Verb

remain, stand, stay, stop

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Did You Know?


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


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.


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

The report is expected to carry particular weight in light of the Fed's emphasis on data-dependence, and investors expect the pace of wage growth and strength of the labor market to be key factors in determining U.S. interest rates. Riva Gold, WSJ, "Stocks Show Signs of Steadying Ahead of Jobs Report," 7 Dec. 2018 But with the housing market having long since recovered, the bargains are gone—and the pace of acquisition for these companies has slowed dramatically. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Single-family rental companies turn to Opendoor, Offerpad for new inventory," 3 Dec. 2018 China is the world’s biggest market for electric cars, on pace to sell around 1 million in 2018. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla will live and die by the Gigafactory," 30 Nov. 2018 Since then, the pace of IS attacks in Sinai's main theater has slowed to a trickle. Brian Rohan, Fox News, "Egypt arming Sinai tribesmen in fight against Islamic State," 27 Sep. 2018 The pace of the MQ-25A program, just four aircraft in six years, is relatively slow considering DF-21D missiles are operational now. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Boeing Will Build the Navy's MQ-25 Stingray Carrier-Based Tanker Drone," 4 Sep. 2018 On Filicudi, the pace of change is slow (appropriately, the island looks like a turtle when seen from above, according to Anastasi), and the island’s tourism infrastructure is modest. Howie Kahn, Smithsonian, "These Volcanic, Italian Islands Have Been Beloved by Travelers Since Homeric Times," 11 July 2018 In a separate Los Angeles Times op-ed, William G. Tierney, a professor and co-director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education, argued that the pace of change at the university may have been the core of the problem. Alex Bhattacharji, Town & Country, "Can USC Survive Scandal and Shed Its Spoiled-Kid Reputation Once and For All?," 10 July 2018 As of July 5 the summary showed that the pace of Alaska's salmon harvest was about 25 percent below the same time last year, an improvement from the previous week. Laine Welch, Anchorage Daily News, "For Alaska sockeye salmon, record highs in Bristol Bay, record lows nearly everywhere else," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The clip then shows Blake pacing around Santana, before bending down to place an object next to Santana’s body, according to the paper. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "Video captures moment off-duty New York City cop shoots 'love rival' on the street," 4 Aug. 2018 That starts with Kevin Harvick, whose five victories and overall dominance have not only paced his team, but the entire NASCAR circuit. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "The 5 best teams in NASCAR at midseason all have one thing Hendrick, Gannasi lack," 21 June 2018 Karlsson helped pace one of the best lines in the league in Vegas while only being whistled for six penalties. Matthew Defranks,, "Panthers Roberto Luongo, Aleksander Barkov up for NHL awards Wednesday night," 19 June 2018 Three sleepless days pacing the waiting room and alternating shifts next to his bed. Lindsey Vehlewald, SELF, "We Never Got Flu Shots. Then the Flu Almost Killed My Husband," 9 Nov. 2018 Prior to performing for judges Randy Travis, Simon Cowell, and Paula Abdul, a visibly nervous Carrie paced the hallway as her mother gave an interview. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Carrie Underwood's 'American Idol' Audition Is Even Better Than We Remembered," 28 Oct. 2018 President Donald Trump sanctioned and paced tariffs on Ankara over the imprisonment in August, severely hurting Erdoğan’s economy. Alex Ward, Vox, "Turkey’s unrelenting pressure on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi, explained.," 24 Oct. 2018 For those interested in natural treatments, Shen says that mindfulness, paced breathing, and acupuncture seem to work. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "How Long Does Menopause Last?," 6 Sep. 2018 For instance, alternate one minute of fast walking with two minutes of moderately paced walking. Tehrene Firman, Good Housekeeping, "This Is How Many Calories You Burn From Walking," 8 Aug. 2018

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


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


see pace entry 1


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

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Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for pace

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

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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 \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pace

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pace

Spanish Central: Translation of pace

Nglish: Translation of pace for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pace for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pace

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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