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

Ballard’s diary included passages on Machine Gun Company’s first battles. WSJ, "Archangel Endnotes," 9 Nov. 2018 Migrant caravans have traveled through Central America for several years, part human rights protest, part effort to guarantee safe passage for Central Americans traversing a dangerous route north. Kevin Sieff, The Seattle Times, "How the migrant caravan became so big and why it’s continuing to grow," 23 Oct. 2018 Here are two of the most relevant passages from the essay. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Keira Knightley Just Criticized Kate Middleton for Hiding the Reality of Childbirth," 6 Oct. 2018 These soundtracked passages of almost uniformly inept Meisner capoeira are all the more grating because the interactions on either side of them are so vibrant. Max Maller, Chicago Reader, "Fucking Men struggles with onstage intimacy realness," 11 July 2018 In this Tuesday, July 10, 2018 photo, Chip Paul, who helped write the medical marijuana state question and push for its passage, answers a question for a reporter before a meeting of the Oklahoma Board of Health in Oklahoma City. Washington Post, "Conservative states balk at voter-approved medical marijuana," 13 July 2018 Obviously, there is room for vigorous, honest debate about many of its passages, but the text also often speaks loudly and clearly, and to ignore that is to ignore rule of law. Jay Ambrose,, "Brett Kavanaugh an excellent Supreme Court pick," 11 July 2018 Our team will retrieve your luggage from the trunk of your car and assure its safe passage to your destination. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "This New Luxury Airline Is Offering Private Jet Travel at a Fraction of the Price," 9 July 2018 As part of their pledge to Iyamu, the women promised to pay her gang up to $44,000 for their passage to Germany. Paula Rogo,, "'Voodoo Nurse' Sentenced For Sex Trafficking Vulnerable Nigerian Women," 5 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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Statistics for passage

Last Updated

14 Nov 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).


playful or foolish behavior

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