\ 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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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

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 Still, Johnson is on pace to become the first Spurs to average at least 14.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in his second season since Duncan averaged 21.7 and 11.4 in 1998-99. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Keldon Johnson learning humbling NBA lesson," 3 Apr. 2021 Barring a collapse from Denver or Dallas, the Blazers must continue winning at least on pace with their present rate, and do so while facing a much tougher schedule. oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers’ ability to navigate tough remaining schedule will make or break their season," 2 Apr. 2021 Biden is on pace to roughly match that with his first two major legislative initiatives — the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, and his new $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Dollar-Sign President," 2 Apr. 2021 Ongoing supply-chain issues notwithstanding, March auto sales were on pace to return to pre-pandemic levels. Annie White, Car and Driver, "This Week in Cars: A Genesis Concept, 800-HP Mercedes-AMGs, and Infrastructure Week," 2 Apr. 2021 But even with the setbacks, Howard was on pace to have one of his best seasons. Dallas News, "5 Texas Tech prospects most likely to be selected in the 2021 NFL draft," 31 Mar. 2021 Biden and his Democratic allies have accused Trump of gutting the systems needed to handle the current level of border crossings, which Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said is on pace to exceed any seen in 20 years. Sarah Westwood, Washington Examiner, "Breaking down the blame game on the border," 30 Mar. 2021 The Biden administration is on pace to take in more than 17,000 unaccompanied minors this month, far higher than the previous record of 11,861 in May 2019. Washington Post, "Biden administration allows media inside Texas border tent packed with minors," 30 Mar. 2021 Biden has pledged to administer 200 million shots in total under his presidency by the end of next month and is on pace to do that., "Biden says 90 percent of adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in three weeks," 29 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb So pace yourself while considering the benefits of getting back out there: Even casual interactions have shown to foster a sense of belonging and community. New York Times, "Start Retraining for Social Interactions," 27 Mar. 2021 Conductors must pace themselves for the long haul that is a night at the opera. Rob Hubbard, Star Tribune, "Minnesota Orchestra breaks its bubble to enjoy a night with friends," 6 Mar. 2021 After being held scoreless in the second quarter, Palmer found her rhythm to pace the Jaguars' attack, scoring six straight in the third period. Shelby Dermer, The Enquirer, "Girls High School basketball: Ryle holds off Cooper for 4th-consecutive 33rd district title," 19 Mar. 2021 Junior outside hitter Cassi Shields had nine kills to pace Westminster, and Rinda added eight along with five digs and two aces. Pat Stoetzer,, "With senior setter serving up points, Westminster volleyball stays unbeaten with win at Century," 18 Mar. 2021 Stillwater 4, Cretin-Derham Hall 1: Lexi Huber had a goal and an assist to pace the host Ponies, ranked No. 6 in Class 2A, past the Raiders. Star Tribune, "Saturday's prep roundup: South St. Paul remains unbeaten," 6 Mar. 2021 Maxwell caught fire in the second half for 15 points and six rebounds to pace the Utes. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah women’s ‘weird’ season ends with loss to No. 7 Washington State in Pac-12 Basketball Tournament opener," 3 Mar. 2021 In his season debut, junior center Sawyer Mayhugh dropped in 27 points to pace the Wildcats (2-2). Matthew Doherty,, "No pause button for Nate Amado, Whitman-Hanson boys’ basketball in a riveting return," 15 Jan. 2021 Nathanael Sulka’s 26 points led Chardon, while Owen Redmond had 27 to pace NDCL. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Bay’s identity making a defensive shift; STVM coach Dru Joyce wins 400th game: Boys basketball rewind," 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

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pace.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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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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