\ 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

file, march, parade, stride

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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

From the beginning, this felt like a game that could be tight early with the question being South Carolina’s ability to keep pace. Michael Casagrande |, al, "A few extra observations, context from Alabama win at South Carolina," 15 Sep. 2019 The Raiders looked overwhelmed trying to keep pace with Kansas City’s receivers downfield in that stretch. Matt Kawahara,, "Raiders’ game grades vs. Chiefs: Oakland forgot football was a four-quarter game," 15 Sep. 2019 Alaska Native organizations try to keep pace by offering cultural trainings to help outsiders better serve their communities — but not everyone participates. Washington Post, "In Alaska hometown, Native women say police ignored rapes," 14 Sep. 2019 Expect Carr to throw for multiple touchdowns, making him a sneaky play in all formats as the Raiders try to keep pace on the scoreboard. Jim Saranteas, USA TODAY, "Week 2 fantasy football deep sleepers: Don't overlook Derek Carr in shootout with Chiefs," 13 Sep. 2019 Alaska Native organizations try to keep pace by offering cultural trainings to help outsiders better serve their communities — but not everyone participates. Victoria Mckenzie, Anchorage Daily News, "Native women in Nome say police ignored rapes or failed to thoroughly investigate them," 12 Sep. 2019 However, with the third presidential debate Thursday in Houston, Harris now has to recapture the momentum to keep pace with her rivals. Fortune, "Will the Third Democratic Debate Give Kamala Harris Renewed Momentum?," 12 Sep. 2019 On a crowded, fast-moving urban highway, the Corolla kept pace easily with 80-mph traffic. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Every car should be a little like the 2020 Toyota Corolla hybrid," 11 Sep. 2019 Lamont said the new 2040 deadline for a clean power grid is necessary because climate change is accelerating, and Connecticut needs to keep up pace. Slade Rand,, "Lamont moves to speed up state’s response to climate change," 3 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Crescenta Valley will be paced by seniors Sophia Atin, Samantha Moore and Ily Nelson and sophomores Reese Sion, Emma Walch and Rebecca Doherty. Glendale News-Press, "Cross-Country Preview: Abundance of talent for area runners, teams," 6 Sep. 2019 As work keeps getting more complex, fast-paced, and demanding, time vampires have a maddening way of multiplying. Anne Fisher, Fortune, "Deloitte’s Plan for Fighting Employee Burnout: Let AI Take Over the Dreaded HR and IT Tasks," 1 Sep. 2019 The Golden Knights will be paced by senior goalkeeper Cole Marston, junior driver Robert Alietti, junior driver/utility Jack Wilson and sophomore point Jared sin, who transferred from South Pasadena. Vincent Nguyenstaff Writer, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Boys’ Water Polo Preview: Young La Cañada hopes to trek through tough league to achieve playoff goals," 30 Aug. 2019 The squad should be paced by seniors Victor Goli, Dayne Ellis, Tadeh Shanazari, Anthony Chiaravalle and Steven Wright, along with juniors Andres Leon and Tyler Jenkins. Jeff Tully, Burbank Leader, "Cross-Country Preview: Burbank looks for repeat league-championship performance," 29 Aug. 2019 But everything has been great, fast-paced with a lot of detail, and very intense. Mike Chambers, The Denver Post, "Hard-hitting safety Mikial Onu another one of CU’s likely starting grad transfers," 21 Aug. 2019 Police said a caller told them Whataburger staff asked the man, who was pacing and talking to himself, to leave several times. Dallas News, "Man armed with masonry trowel grabs child, strikes employee in Allen Whataburger," 7 Aug. 2019 The Twins were paced by Corey Duncan, Ornan Toledo, Francisco Calderon and Jeremiah Schnapp who banged out two hits each. Emmett Hall,, "Federal League winds down regular baseball season," 24 July 2019 The broadcasts are better paced and more professional than FOX. Dave Doyle, MMA Junkie, "Greg Hardy can keep winning, but we can't move on from his past just yet | Opinion," 21 July 2019

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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Statistics for pace

Last Updated

19 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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).


to spread over or through

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