pass·​port | \ˈpas-ˌpȯrt \

Definition of passport 

1a : a formal document issued by an authorized official of a country to one of its citizens that is usually necessary for exit from and reentry into the country, that allows the citizen to travel in a foreign country in accordance with visa requirements, and that requests protection for the citizen while abroad

b : a license issued by a country permitting a foreign citizen to pass or take goods through its territory : safe-conduct

c : a document of identification required by law to be carried by persons residing or traveling within a country

2a : a permission or authorization to go somewhere

b : something that secures admission, acceptance, or attainment education as a passport to success

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Synonyms for passport


gateway, key, open sesame, secret, ticket

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Examples of passport in a Sentence

meeting that movie director could be your passport to a big acting career to its followers, the cult seemed like their passport to heaven

Recent Examples on the Web

Under the new rules, all-cash buyers must report their identity to the title company, which has to obtain documentation of the real buyer, such as a driver’s license or passport. Mike Rosenberg, The Seattle Times, "King County’s secret all-cash homebuyers must reveal true identity to law enforcement," 20 Nov. 2018 The Trans Relief Project provides monetary assistance and education to transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals who need help changing names and gender designate on legal documents such as US passports and driver's licenses. Allure, "6 Ways to Support Transgender and Nonbinary People Right Now," 21 Oct. 2018 The days of self-identification on documents like passports or airplane tickets may come sooner for some countries than others. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Outdated Gender Norms You Encounter When Booking Your Plane Ticket," 27 Sep. 2018 Taking away people’s passports and citizenship is a precursor to genocide. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Stripping U.S. Citizens of Their Passports Is a Precursor to Genocide," 7 Sep. 2018 Parents arrived with folders and grocery bags stuffed with birth certificates, passports, immunization records. Nomaan Merchant,, "Hunger, fear, desperation: What came of an ordinary ICE raid in Covington," 9 July 2018 Upon entry to the country at participating airports, travelers going through primary inspection (and not Global Entry) will have their photo captured by a web cam and matched in near real-time against a passport or visa photo already on file. Jennifer Van Grove,, "Facial recognition tech speeds up customs at new San Diego airport facility," 28 June 2018 With the technology, a traveler does not have to provide a boarding pass, passport or other identification. Kevin Spear,, "Orlando airport's expanded facial screening touted by federal officials," 21 June 2018 While airlines like Delta and British Airways have been increasingly targeted by cyberattacks in the past year, the breach Cathay suffered is notable for exposing passport details. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Major airline Cathay Pacific says up to 9.4 million passengers had their data stolen," 24 Oct. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for passport

Middle English (Scots) pasport, from Middle French passeport, from passer to pass + port port, from Latin portus — more at ford

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Statistics for passport

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for passport

The first known use of passport was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of passport

: an official document issued by the government of a country that identifies someone as a citizen of that country and that is usually necessary when entering or leaving a country

: something that allows a person to achieve something


pass·​port | \ˈpas-ˌpȯrt \

Kids Definition of passport

: a government document needed to enter or leave a country

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Comments on passport

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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