pass·​ing | \ ˈpa-siŋ How to pronounce passing (audio) \

Definition of passing

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the act of one that passes or causes to pass especially : death sense 1a
in passing
: by the way : incidentally



Definition of passing (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : going by or past a passing pedestrian
2 : having a brief duration a passing whim
3 obsolete : surpassing
4 : superficial a passing acquaintance a passing resemblance
5a : of, relating to, or used in or for the act or process of passing passing lanes
b : given on satisfactory completion of an examination or course of study a passing grade



Definition of passing (Entry 3 of 3)

: to a surpassing degree : exceedingly passing strange

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of passing in a Sentence

Noun After her husband's passing, she moved to a smaller house. We all mourned his passing. Adjective Someone called out from a passing car. She sells flowers to passing motorists. Let's hope that these shoes are just a passing fad. a passing phase in childhood Adverb a passing strange turn of events
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As the 10-year anniversary of Crowley's passing approached this year, Crowley's grandson, Brennan Crowley, set out to reinvigorate the charity. Sharon Coolidge, The Enquirer, 10 July 2021 Mission Viejo showed off an impressive passing combination of quarterback Kadin Semonza to receivers Mikey Matthews and Jackson Holman. Eric Sondheimer Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2021 Reed was 7 of 12 passing in the opener, before the Rattlers knocked him out with an injury. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, 9 July 2021 But Barty steeled herself to hold there, then broke to get within 5-4 with a cross-court forehand passing winner., 8 July 2021 That idea is strengthened by NFL Next Gen Stats’ own figures, which say that Tannehill passed for just 514 yards on deep passing attempts, ranking towards the bottom of NFL quarterbacks that attempted at least 30 deep passes last season. Liam Fox, Forbes, 7 July 2021 Under Saleh, San Francisco finished 16th in points allowed, fifth in yards allowed, fourth in passing-yards allowed and seventh in rushing-yards allowed last season. Mark Inabinett |, al, 5 July 2021 Rusnák had five key passing and a shot on goal on Saturday. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 July 2021 Pine Forest High School, graduating in 2020 with the high school’s passing record., 2 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The measure now moves to the Senate, where its chances of passing are slim, with GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in opposition. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 June 2021 But it's done so deftly that even those with a more passing knowledge of the myths will find plenty here to love. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 30 June 2021 Ambitious, controversial ideas are often easier to test in cities than at the federal level, where the legislative filibuster and partisan deadlock makes passing laws difficult. Konrad Putzier, WSJ, 10 June 2021 But both teams would probably be wise to hang on to their draft capital and cap space in the event the Packers eventually dangle Rodgers, if not the pursuit of a passing upgrade during next year's draft of free agency. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 5 June 2021 Martin, the receivers coach, and Williams, the passing game specialist, are coaching and teaching on every play. Mike Preston,, 27 May 2021 The latest crisis in Gaza cannot be set aside as just another passing episode in Hamas’s forever war against Israel’s existence. Steve Coll, The New Yorker, 23 May 2021 Someone inside of a passing white sedan fired shots hitting her in the stomach. Deanese Williams-harris,, 22 May 2021 The guess by local authorities is that the turtle was crawling along on the active highway and got picked up by a passing semi-truck that then launched it from the massive wheels and into the air. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 6 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'passing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of passing


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About passing

Time Traveler for passing

Time Traveler

The first known use of passing was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for passing

Last Updated

13 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Passing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for passing



English Language Learners Definition of passing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of moving toward and beyond something
used to talk about the movement of time usually + of
formal : a person's death



English Language Learners Definition of passing (Entry 2 of 2)

: moving past someone or something
used to talk about time that is going past
: lasting for only a short time


pass·​ing | \ ˈpa-siŋ How to pronounce passing (audio) \

Kids Definition of passing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : going by or past passing cars
2 : lasting only for a short time a passing fad
3 : showing haste or lack of attention a passing glance
4 : used for going past passing lanes
5 : showing satisfactory work in a test or course of study a passing mark



Kids Definition of passing (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of going by or going away We await the passing of winter.

More from Merriam-Webster on passing

Nglish: Translation of passing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of passing for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!