pass

1 of 4

verb

passed; passing; passes

intransitive verb

1
: move, proceed, go
The boat was too tall to pass under the bridge.
2
a
: to go away : depart
the fright passes almost immediatelyFred Majdalany
b
: die
often used with on
Her parents have passed on.
3
a
: to move in a path so as to approach and continue beyond something : move past
especially : to move past another vehicle going in the same direction
glowered at the other driver as we passed
b
: to run the normal course
used of time or a period of time
the hours pass quickly
4
a
: to go or make one's way through
allow no one to pass
b
: to go uncensured, unchallenged, or seemingly unnoticed
let the remark pass
5
: to go from one quality, state, or form to another
passes from a liquid to a gaseous state
6
a
: to sit in inquest (see inquest sense 1) or judgment
b(1)
: to render a decision, verdict, or opinion
the court passed on the legality of wiretapping
(2)
: to become legally rendered
judgment passed for the plaintiff
7
: to go from the control, ownership, or possession of one person or group to that of another
the throne passed to the king's son
title passes to the buyer upon payment in full
8
a
: happen, occur
commenting freely on the transactions as they passW. L. Sperry
b
: to take place or be exchanged as or in a social, personal, or business interaction
words passed
9
a
: to become approved by a legislature or body empowered to sanction or reject
the proposal passed
b
: to undergo an inspection, test, or course of study successfully
took the examination and passed
10
a
: to serve as a medium of exchange
b
: to be accepted or regarded
drivel that passes for literature
c
: to identify oneself or be identified as something one is not
tried to pass as an adult
Mom could pass as my sister
11
a
obsolete : to make a pass (see pass entry 3 sense 5) in fencing
b
: to throw or hit a ball or puck to a teammate
often used with off
took the ball and quickly passed off to a teammate
12
a(1)
: to decline to bid, double, or redouble in a card game
Her bridge partner passed.
(2)
: to withdraw from the current poker pot
b
: to let something go by without accepting or taking advantage of it
thanks for the offer, but I'll pass
often used with on
passed on the cheesecake

transitive verb

1
: to go beyond: such as
a
: surpass, exceed
passes all expectations
b
: to advance or develop beyond
c
: to go past (one moving in the same direction)
passed a slower moving car
2
a
: to go by : proceed or extend beyond
pass the school on their way to work
b(1)
obsolete : neglect, omit
(2)
: to omit a regularly scheduled declaration and payment of (a dividend)
3
a
: to go across, over, or through : cross
b
: to live through (something, such as an experience or peril) : undergo
c
: to go through (something, such as a test) successfully
passed the final exams of his courses
4
a
: to secure the approval of
the bill passed the Senate
b
: to cause or permit to win approval or legal or official sanction
pass a law
c
: to give approval or a passing grade to
pass the students
5
a
: to let (time or a period of time) go by especially while involved in a leisure activity
I'll read to pass the time
b
: to let go unnoticed : overlook, disregard
his commander quietly passed his likes or dislikesGeorge Meredith
6
a
: pledge
had passed his word that he would repay the debt
b
: to transfer the right to or property in
pass title to a house
7
a
: to put in circulation
pass bad checks
b(1)
: to transfer or transmit from one to another
pass the salt
passing the savings on to customers
(2)
: to relay or communicate (something, such as information) to another
c
: to cause or enable to go : transport
waited till the soldiers and wounded were all passed overWalt Whitman
d
: to throw or hit (a ball or puck) especially to a teammate
often used with off
passed the ball off to his teammate
8
a
: to pronounce (something, such as a sentence or opinion) especially judicially
passed sentence on the convicted man
b
: utter
passed a cutting remark
9
a
: to cause or permit to go past or through a barrier
passed the detectives to view the crime scene
b
: to move or cause to move in a particular manner or direction
passed my hand over my face
pass the rope through the loop
c
: to cause to march or go by in order
pass the troops in review
10
: to emit or discharge from a bodily part and especially the bowels
11
a
: to give a base on balls to
passed two batters
b
: to hit a ball past (an opponent) in a game (such as tennis)
passer noun

pass

2 of 4

noun (1)

1
: a means (such as an opening, road, or channel) by which a barrier may be passed or access to a place may be gained
especially : a low place in a mountain range
2
: a position to be held usually against odds

pass

3 of 4

noun (2)

plural passes
1
: realization
brought his dream to pass
2
: the act or an instance of passing : passage
3
: a usually distressing or bad state of affairs
what has brought you to such a pass?
4
a
: a written permission to move about freely in a place or to leave or enter it
b
: a written leave of absence from a military post or station for a brief period
c
: a permit or ticket allowing free transportation or free admission
5
archaic : a thrust or lunge in fencing
6
a
: a transference of objects by sleight of hand or other deceptive means
b
: a moving of the hands over or along something
7
archaic : an ingenious sally (as of wit)
8
: the passing of an examination or course of study
also : the mark or certification of such passing
9
: a single complete mechanical operation
also : a single complete cycle of operations (as for processing, manufacturing, or printing)
10
a(1)
: a transfer of a ball or a puck from one player to another on the same team
(2)
: a ball or puck so transferred
11
12
a
: an instance of letting something (such as an offer or opportunity) go by without accepting or taking advantage of it
Jackson toured the place with top designers, and execs looked over his … toy that resembled an animal. Mattel took a pass [=turned down the offer] and Jackson took the rejection well.Pamela Lansden
President Donald Trump is expected to take a pass on handing out this year's National Teacher of the Year award honors—forgoing a tradition that dates to President Harry Truman.Kimberly Hefling
b
: an election not to bid, bet, or draw an additional card in a card game
13
: a throw of dice in the game of craps that wins the bet for the shooter compare crap entry 3 sense 2, missout
14
: a single passage or movement (as of an airplane) over a place or toward a target
15
a
: effort, try
b
: a sexually inviting gesture or approach
16
: pase

pass

4 of 4

abbreviation

Phrases
pass muster
: to gain approval or acceptance
His cooking could pass muster in an expensive French restaurant.
pass the buck
: to shift a responsibility to someone else
Stop trying to pass the buck and take responsibility for what you did.
pass the hat
: to take up a collection for money
passed the hat for families affected by the disaster
pass the time of day
: to exchange greetings or engage in pleasant conversation
passed the time of day with friends in the park

Examples of pass in a Sentence

Verb The boat was too tall to pass beneath the bridge. A flock of geese were passing overhead. They pass the library every morning on their way to school. The ships passed each other in the night. We passed each other in the hallway without looking up. She passed two other runners just before the finish line. He passed the slower cars on the highway. The drug passes quickly into the bloodstream. In a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and the Earth. The airplane passed out of sight. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Kelce passed that mark in the first half of what was just his 21st postseason appearance. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 If the legislation passes, Kansas would have among the highest bar for independent candidates running for state office as a percentage of the population – Indiana and Wyoming already require 2% of a prior year’s turnout. Katie Bernard, Kansas City Star, 22 Feb. 2024 Hilary’s chic and charmed exterior belies the painful reality of her husband’s infidelity, her ambivalence about becoming a mother, and the generational trauma passed down by her parents. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 Snoop announced that Worthington — the rapper’s half-sibling on his their late mother Beverly’s side — had passed last Friday; the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. said Worthington died on Feb. 15 of as-yet-undetermined causes, according to NBC News. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 22 Feb. 2024 And across the Bay, everyone knew Tara VanDerveer would pass Mike Krzyzewski to become college basketball’s all-time leader in victories. Jeff Faraudo, The Mercury News, 22 Feb. 2024 Tapp, working with the Idaho Innocence Project — which had worked for years to clear Tapp’s name — went on to help get Idaho’s Wrongful Conviction Act passed. Sally Krutzig, Idaho Statesman, 22 Feb. 2024 The total eclipse will last roughly four-and-a-half minutes and completely block out the sun in more than a dozen states on April 8, as the moon passes directly over the sun. Brian Bushard, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 In Europe, the EU already passed several landmark pieces of legislation meant to break up some of the power tech giants like Apple and Alphabet already had on the market. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 22 Feb. 2024
Noun
The Jayhawks did an excellent job cutting off passing lanes, having quick hands and forcing the Bears to make dangerous passes. Shreyas Laddha, Kansas City Star, 11 Feb. 2024 Given a second pass, if what regulators and politicians want for banks is so good for them, why the need for regulations or laws? John Tamny, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 With the score tied at 1-1, Jansen came running out of his area to clear a pass that had been played towards his goal and got knocked over in the process by Amsterdamsche forward Marciano Mengerink. Matias Grez, CNN, 10 Feb. 2024 Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov sent a pass to Lomberg in the slot, and Lomberg fired a quick wrist shot that got past Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 9 Feb. 2024 Sacramento County restaurants cited for health violations The following Sacramento County restaurants had violations the week of Feb. 1 through Feb. 7, resulting in a conditional pass. Jacqueline Pinedo, Sacramento Bee, 9 Feb. 2024 Authorities initially launched a search for another man who the vehicle was also registered to, but later learned that Reed had entered the park using a pass issued to the man, AZFamily reported. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, 8 Feb. 2024 Instead, the Blackhawks turned the tables and tied the game when Nick Foligno one-timed a pass at the crease from Philipp Kurashev past Gustavsson at 13:44. John Shipley, Twin Cities, 7 Feb. 2024 Call for information on group lessons, annual passes, court rates and private lessons. Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pass.' 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

Verb and Noun (2)

Middle English, from Anglo-French passer, from Vulgar Latin *passare, from Latin passus step — more at pace

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French pas, from Latin passus

First Known Use

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pass was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near pass

Cite this Entry

“Pass.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pass. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

pass

1 of 3 verb
1
2
a
: to go away
the pain will soon pass
b
: die entry 1 sense 1
often used with on
3
: to go by or beyond or move past
4
: to go or allow to go across, over, or through
let no one pass
5
: to change or transfer ownership or possession
recipes passed down through the family
6
7
a
: to gain the approval of a legislative body
the bill passed both houses
b
: to approve officially
pass a new law
8
: to go or allow to go through an examination or course of study successfully
passed my French course
9
: to cause to be considered
passed for an expert
10
: to transfer or become transferred from one person to another
pass the butter
pass a football
11
: to decide not to bid, bet, or draw in a card game
12
: to cause or permit to elapse : spend
pass time
13
: to state judicially
pass sentence
passer noun

pass

2 of 3 noun
1
2
: a gap in a mountain range

pass

3 of 3 noun
1
: the act or an instance of passing : passage
2
: accomplishment sense 1, realization
used in the phrases come to pass and bring to pass
3
: situation sense 3, condition
have come to a strange pass
4
: a written permission to enter or leave or to move about freely
a soldier's three-day pass
5
: a moving of the hands over or along something
6
: a transfer of a ball or puck from one player to another
especially : forward pass
7
8
: an act of passing in a card game
9
: effort sense 2, try
make a pass at it

Medical Definition

pass

transitive verb
: to emit or discharge from a bodily part and especially from the bowels : evacuate sense 2, void

Legal Definition

pass

intransitive verb
1
a
: to issue a decision, verdict, or opinion
the Supreme Court passed on a statute
b
: to be legally issued
judgment passed by default
2
: to go from the control, ownership, or possession of one person or group to that of another
title passes to the buyer

transitive verb

1
: to omit a regularly scheduled declaration and payment of (a dividend)
2
a
: to get the approval of
the bill passed the House
b
: to give approval or legal sanction to
the House passed the bill
3
: to transfer the right to or interest in
the sale passes the title to the goods
4
: to put in circulation
pass bad checks
compare utter
5
: to pronounce (as a sentence or judgment) judicially

More from Merriam-Webster on pass

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