pas·sage | \ ˈpa-sij \

Definition of passage 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a way of exit or entrance : a road, path, channel, or course by which something passes Special ships clear passages through the ice. nasal passages

b : a corridor or lobby giving access to the different rooms or parts of a building or apartment Her office is at the end of the passage.

2a : the action or process of passing from one place, condition, or stage to another the passage of food through the digestive system

b : death sense 1a when he is fit and seasoned for his passage —William Shakespeare

c : a continuous movement or flow the passage of time

3a(1) : a specific act of traveling or passing especially by sea or air a long ocean passage

(2) : a privilege of conveyance as a passenger : accommodations was able to secure passage on the next flight

b : the passing of a legislative measure or law : enactment a bill's passage into law

4 : a right, liberty, or permission to pass attempted to force passage through the town —C. A. Willoughby

5a : something that happens or is done : incident The soldier related some exciting passages.

b : something that takes place between two persons mutually the passage of vows between bride and groom

6a : a usually brief portion of a written work or speech that is relevant to a point under discussion or noteworthy for content or style quoted a passage from the Bible

b : a phrase or short section of a musical composition The violinist played the challenging passages with great virtuosity.

c : a detail of a work of art (such as a painting) the picture contains several pretty passages of color —Clive Bell

7 : the act or action of passing something or undergoing a passing The computer facilitates the rapid passage of information.

8 : incubation (see incubate sense 1b) of a pathogen (such as a virus) in culture, a living organism, or a developing egg


passaged; passaging

Definition of passage (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to go past or across : cross

transitive verb

: to subject to passage passaged a virus

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Examples of passage in a Sentence


We squeezed through a narrow passage between the rocks. Special ships clear passages through the ice. The medicine makes breathing easier by opening nasal passages. They controlled the passage of goods through their territory. the passage of food through the digestive system the passage of air into and out of the lungs the passage from life to death the passage of the seasons He left after the passage of a few hours. With the passage of time, the number of children suffering with the disease has decreased dramatically.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In honoring that often-tragic passage, the artist has overlaid the flags’ simple stripes with paintings that represent poetic celestial maps. George Fishman, miamiherald, "Monarchs ‘Brown and Native’ butterfly exhibit a response to contemporary events," 13 July 2018 Over the course of two days, the team captured the nuances of the tomb’s chambers and passages using 3D scanning technology and thousands of overlapping DSLR photographs, according to a CuriosityStream press release. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Take a VR Tour of an Egyptian Queen’s Elaborate Tomb," 12 July 2018 The most waterlogged passage, which had taken five hours to navigate in the early going, could now be traversed in two hours with the help of guide ropes. Hannah Beech, Richard C. Paddock And Muktita Suhartono, New York Times, "‘Still Can’t Believe It Worked’: The Story of the Thailand Cave Rescue," 12 July 2018 Each of the boys, with no diving experience, was guided out by divers though rocky, muddy and water-filled passages that in places were just a crawl space. Anchorage Daily News, "With V-for-Victory sign, rescued Thai boys celebrate freedom," 12 July 2018 There is an ethereal mysticism to the lyrical passages, and a big-hearted warmth. Mark Swed,, "As a conductor, composer and man, Oliver Knussen was larger than life," 10 July 2018 To get the boys out, experts had to guide them, diving through the cave’s dark, tight and twisting passages. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Thai cave rescue timeline: The dangerous race to bring trapped soccer team home," 10 July 2018 Since the act’s passage, only 11 protected species out of more than 1,600 have gone extinct. Peter S. Alagona, Outside Online, "The Endangered Species Act Needs a Reboot," 9 July 2018 The urgent and dangerous effort has involved the boys diving through the cave's tight and twisting passages, guided by experienced divers. Kaweewit Kaewjinda And Stephen Wright,, "Rescue of remaining 4 boys, coach from flooded Thai cave could take two operations," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If Trump backs it, that could propel the measure to passage. Tal Kopan And Lauren Fox, CNN, "Republicans unveil DACA citizenship-border wall compromise bill," 14 June 2018 And in each of those situations, votes from Kansas City area lawmakers either pushed a bill to passage or helped prevent a measure from making it to Gov. Jeff Colyer. Hunter Woodall, kansascity, "That bill you love, that bill you hate? A KC area lawmaker likely cast a key vote | The Kansas City Star," 9 May 2018 Their support, along with their conservative colleagues, could have pushed the bill to passage. Hunter Woodall, kansascity, "That bill you love, that bill you hate? A KC area lawmaker likely cast a key vote | The Kansas City Star," 9 May 2018 Council Clerk and Community Services Director Keith Benjamin worked behind the scenes in seeing the ordinance through to passage. Jeff Piorkowski/special To,, "South Euclid City Council passes controversial anti-discrimination ordinance," 10 Apr. 2018 The push for Sunday carryout sales — approved Wednesday by a House committee 12 to 1 and passed unanimously last week by a Senate panel — seems on a fast track to passage. Robert King, Indianapolis Star, "Senate panel kills cold beer bill while Sunday alcohol sales gains momentum," 17 Jan. 2018 Those new demands torpedoed a bipartisan proposal that looked to have been on track to passage just weeks ago. Astead W. Herndon,, "Shutdown shows strains of Trump’s leadership," 22 Jan. 2018 House Republicans released their draft tax plan bill on Thursday, but may face numerous issues in bringing the bill to passage. Bloomberg, "GOP Faces Disappointment, Deadline on Tax Plan," 3 Nov. 2017 The younger Brown has just muscled to passage a series of initiatives designed to add more capacity to the water system; part of the plan calls for the digging of huge tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta itself. Mike Sager, Esquire, "Growing Almonds in the Desert," 25 Feb. 2015

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


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


1824, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Phrases Related to passage

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Statistics for passage

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for passage

The first known use of passage was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for passage



English Language Learners Definition of passage

: a long, narrow space that connects one place to another

: a narrow space that people or things can move through

: an act of moving or passing from one place or state to another


pas·sage | \ ˈpa-sij \

Kids Definition of passage

1 : a space or path by which something or someone can go through

2 : a brief part of a speech or written work

3 : the act or process of going from one place or condition to another Our ship made a smooth passage.

4 : the act of approving a law

5 : a right or permission to go as a passenger She obtained passage aboard the ship.


pas·sage | \ ˈpas-ij \

Medical Definition of passage 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the action or process of passing from one place, condition, or stage to another the passage of air from the lungsEncyclopedia Americana

2 : an anatomical channel the nasal passages

3 : a movement or an evacuation of the bowels

4a : an act or action of passing something or undergoing a passing passage of a catheter through the urethra

b : incubation of a pathogen (as a virus) in a tissue culture, a developing egg, or a living organism to increase the amount of pathogen or to alter its characteristics several passages of the virus through mice


transitive verb
passaged; passaging

Medical Definition of passage (Entry 2 of 2)

: to subject to passage the virus has been passaged in series seven timesJournal of the American Medical Association

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Comments on passage

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


a magnificent or impressive array

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