pas·​sage | \ ˈpa-sij How to pronounce passage (audio) \

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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Synonyms for passage

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of passage in a Sentence

Noun 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 With the passage of a 2¢ per-package tax, Iowa becomes the first state to pass a cigarette tax. Marc Bona, cleveland, "100 years ago: 1921 in news, entertainment, American life, famous firsts, world affairs, more," 19 Jan. 2021 Holiday fish boosts – Along with the passage of the Young Fishermen’s Development Act last week, the seafood industry also got other boosts from Congress on several fronts. Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s commercial fishery managers appear to be spared big budget cuts next year," 29 Dec. 2020 While Congress had hoped to finish up its work for the year with the passage of the stimulus bill, there is still another looming issue — and vote — that could affect the race. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, "Stimulus checks, marijuana and Trump’s loss all come back to: How will it play in Georgia?," 22 Dec. 2020 With the passage of Prop 22, the companies have now legislated into existence another miserly version of a portable safety net, along with a face-saving attempt at a minimum wage. Steven Hill, Fortune, "The broken business model of Uber and Lyft is taking a heavy toll on society," 19 Dec. 2020 What keeps the film relevant with the passage of time is not just Rosenwald’s uncommon commitment to social justice. Washington Post, "Rosenwald schools provided an educational path for Black students. A new road map is needed for today.," 15 Dec. 2020 And even with passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act 30 years ago, people with disabilities continue to face discrimination, from housing accessibility to navigating businesses and public spaces. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "No shortage of priorities as civil rights take center stage," 6 Dec. 2020 With passage of the referendum, Montgomery’s tax rate will go up from the state minimum of 10 mills to 22 mills. Mike Cason |, al, "Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed says school tax vote was city’s ‘most crucial’ in decades," 1 Dec. 2020 But with the passage of more bye weeks and COVID-19 cases continuing to pop up, a Week 18 would give the NFL important flexibility for scheduling around unmanageable outbreaks. Jonas Shaffer,, "With Ravens-Steelers game in jeopardy, what could the NFL do? Here are the options.," 27 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Critically though, reconciliation wouldn’t be a viable route to passage for other non-spending priorities like expanding voting rights, gun control, and rewriting immigration policy. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Murder the Filibuster and Never Look Back," 19 Jan. 2021 After the laws passage, she was arrested and her colleagues voted to strip her of immunity. Washington Post, "The U.S. isn’t the only country to make lawmakers pass through metal detectors," 15 Jan. 2021 Marrero said the robocall was an example of how technology in some ways was more damaging than the kind of tactics that led to passage in 1871 of the Ku Klux Klan Act. Larry Neumeister, Star Tribune, "Court-ordered robocalls sent to 'electoral terror' victims," 30 Oct. 2020 Proposition 19, which would expand one property tax break for seniors but rein in another for transfers of real estate between parents and children, appeared headed to passage, according to unofficial election results. Kathleen Pender,, "Proposition 19, which modifies Prop. 13 property-tax breaks, maintaining its lead in California," 4 Nov. 2020 Arizona's two statewide ballot propositions also appear headed to passage, the poll found. Ronald J. Hansen, The Arizona Republic, "Biden, Kelly hold their leads in a new poll that points to Democratic edge in Arizona," 15 Oct. 2020 After seeming to have a path to passage, the bill was derailed just before the pandemic by a dispute over whether to allow a vote on a bipartisan amendment to limit HFCs. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Path opens for long-stalled Senate bill that would be the biggest update to energy law in decade," 11 Sep. 2020 Neither bill has yet had a hearing, and passage this year is considered a long shot. Lee Davidson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Legislation seeks to increase mental health workers by forgiving student debt," 1 Sep. 2020 Clackamas County is unlikely to support the transportation package and left-leaning voters in Multnomah County are critical to it passage. oregonlive, "Metro, opponents draw battlelines over $7 billion transportation package in Washington County business debate," 20 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for passage

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for passage

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Passage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce passage (audio) \

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 How to pronounce passage (audio) \

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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