\ ˈpast How to pronounce past (audio) \

Definition of past

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : ago 12 years past started working on this project 10 years past
b : just gone or elapsed for the past few months I spoke with him this past weekend.
2 : having existed or taken place in a period before the present : bygone In past winters, we have had much more snow.
3 : of, relating to, or constituting a verb tense that is expressive of elapsed time and that in English is usually formed by internal vowel change (as in sang) or by the addition of a suffix (as in laughed)
4 : having served as a specified officer in an organization past president past champions

Definition of past (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : beyond the age for or of past playing with dolls
b : after half past two
2a : at the farther side of : beyond
b : in a course or direction going close to and then beyond drove past the house
3 obsolete : more than
4 : beyond the capacity, range, or sphere of past belief



Definition of past (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : time gone by
b : something that happened or was done in the past regret the past
2a : the past tense of a language
b : a verb form in the past tense
3 : a past life, history, or course of action especially : one that is kept secret



Definition of past (Entry 4 of 4)

: so as to reach and go beyond a point near at hand drove past

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Other Words from past


pastless \ ˈpas(t)-​ləs How to pronounce pastless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for past

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Preposition

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of past in a Sentence

Adjective She was hired based on her past experience in sales. a past editor of the newspaper Preposition The office is two blocks past the intersection. Turn left just past the stairs. We drove past the house. I must have walked right past her. He looked past me to the next customer. Noun Past, present, and future are all linked together. The past of “walk” is “walked.” Adverb Several weeks went past before we heard from her.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Unlike with past suspensions, a revocation could mean the bar will not have its license reinstated. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, "This Tempe bar may have allowed staff to keep working after testing positive for COVID-19," 3 July 2020 The Marine Corps has also failed to effectively educate its people on the lessons from past mishaps and implement reforms. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, "U.S. Marine Corps Concludes Its Investigation Into a Fatal 2018 Midair Crash Was Inaccurate," 2 July 2020 At past orientations, students attend a shopping event called Night at City Target. oregonlive, "Best deals on dorm room, apartment essentials for those going back to college for fall term in midst of coronavirus," 2 July 2020 Among those past incidents was the discovery of a noose at a Pittsburgh area store in 2016 and another at a store in Delaware last year. Alfred Miller, The Courier-Journal, "Home Depot bans some rope sales after nooses were found tied on store spools," 2 July 2020 The George Floyd protests unleashed a flood of corporate statements about past negligence on the issue of race and vows to right those wrongs; chief among them were commitments to build more diverse workforces. Fortune, "3 steps, 5 years: How one academic built a racially-diverse team," 2 July 2020 Behind the factory at 14177 County Highway Q are hundreds of molds the company has used for past jobs. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The World's Largest Talking Cow, a giant ball of twine and more roadside attractions in Wisconsin," 2 July 2020 However, as investors like to say, past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "A College Degree Is No Guarantee of a Good Life," 2 July 2020 San Antonio's contract with the San Antonio Police Officers Association goes farther, limiting past incidents arbitrators can take into account when deciding whether to uphold punishments. Casey Tolan, Nelli Black And Drew Griffin, CNN, "Police unions have helped shield officers from accountability. Now they're facing unprecedented backlash," 2 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition The prosecutors devised the project as civil rights protests continue in cities throughout the country, as a way to address past injustices and determine ways to prevent similar occurrences in the future. Washington Post, "Prosecutors in three cities launch commissions for victims of unjust policing and prosecution," 2 July 2020 Officials noted MTX Group has past health department experience outside Texas and launched a call center in New York City. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Frisco firm eked out victory for Texas COVID contact tracing deal, records show," 29 June 2020 Federal officials have been conducting such tests nationwide to determine how many people had past undiagnosed infections. Faith Karimi, CNN, "Millions of people may have had coronavirus in the past without knowing it, CDC says," 26 June 2020 The move to excise the scene comes as several notable TV series are reappraising past uses of blackface. Omar Sanchez, EW.com, "The Office episode re-edited to cut out blackface scene," 26 June 2020 But in American elections, plurality voting — the dominant, first-past-the-post, winner-take-all voting system — creates the spoiler phenomenon and dissuades would-be elected officials like you from running altogether. Katherine M. Gehl And Michael E. Porter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: American politics rewards entrenched interests and career politicians. Innovations in voting could help change that.," 24 June 2020 Masked pedestrians walk past street musicians wearing face coverings on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. County coronavirus cases mount, but efforts to slow spread appear to be working, officials say," 19 June 2020 That pushes the running tally of those who have made initial claims over the past 13 weeks past a mind-boggling 45 million. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Layoffs: 1.5M workers file for unemployment amid COVID-19 even as states let businesses reopen," 19 June 2020 Over the past 30 years, the Premier League has zoomed past its European counterparts to become the richest in the world. The Economist, "The Premier League will suffer a big financial hit from the pandemic," 16 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Though Torkelson is considered closer to big-league ready than most consensus top prospects in the past, there is zero chance the Tigers will promote him this season. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Spencer Torkelson brings fireworks to Fourth of July workouts," 4 July 2020 Moreover, the officers had few, if any, disciplinary issues in the past, Salvaggio said. Emilie Eaton, ExpressNews.com, "Three San Antonio police officers, fired by SAPD, were later hired in Leon Valley. Here’s why.," 3 July 2020 Trouble with its liquor license is not something new to Varsity Tavern, as the bar has had multiple run-ins with the liquor department in the past. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, "This Tempe bar may have allowed staff to keep working after testing positive for COVID-19," 3 July 2020 Its prospects under a highly partisan Congress aren't clear, though restricting facial recognition has garnered bipartisan support in the past. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Amazon and Microsoft stopped working with police on facial recognition. For others it's still big business," 3 July 2020 However, both Kamalvandi and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi rushed after the fire to Natanz, which has been targeted in sabotage campaigns in the past. Jon Gambrell, USA TODAY, "US analysts say fire at Iran nuclear site hit new centrifuge production plant," 3 July 2020 The woman told officers that her husband has, in the past, kidnapped her daughter by locking her in the bathroom. cleveland, "Fleeing SUV driven by girl, 15: Cleveland Heights police blotter," 3 July 2020 In the past, Salguero has offered a Salvadoran enchilada with mushroom ceviche ($11), a petite bite served on a fried tortilla that looks more like a crispy Mexican tostada than that other famous, saucy dish. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "Wood-fired pupusas on an ample, friendly patio at Oakland’s Popoca," 3 July 2020 SpaceX has struggled with its parachute designs in the past, however. Christian Davenport, Washington Post, "About halfway through their historic mission, a pair of NASA astronauts are preparing for their return," 3 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Women rush past, accompanied by friends and family, trying to avoid them. Vicky Spratt, refinery29.com, "Tears & Trauma: Even Lockdown Didn’t Stop Anti-Abortion Protesters," 29 June 2020 In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey has held out on setting new limits in his state, even as cases there surged past 66,000, with an average of 2,750 new cases per day. Patricia Mazzei, BostonGlobe.com, "States walk back reopenings as confirmed coronavirus cases hit all-time high," 26 June 2020 The money can be used for past-due rent dating back to April 1. Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis Star, "Statewide coronavirus update: Here's how Indiana's rental assistance program could help," 24 June 2020 Few states are rebooting faster than Texas, where hospitalizations surged past 2,100 on Wednesday for the first time during the pandemic. Mike Stobbe, The Christian Science Monitor, "As states reopen, COVID-19 cases make a comeback," 12 June 2020 Few states are rebooting faster than Texas, where hospitalizations surged past 2,100 on Wednesday for the first time during the pandemic. NBC News, "Alarming rise in virus cases as states roll back lockdowns," 10 June 2020 The report shows that serious delinquencies are increasing, up more than 50% over the past two months, with 631,000 homeowners now 90 days or more past due. Anna Bahney, CNN, "4.3 million homeowners missed their mortgage payments last month," 22 June 2020 Instead, Tiz the Law powered past on the outside and cruised to a four-length win. Jake Seiner, SFChronicle.com, "New York-bred Tiz the Law wins barren Belmont Stakes," 20 June 2020 So part of the work is asking in a variety of small and big ways for individual people to think differently, to take a breath, to use a new term, to push past some awkwardness. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "‘It’s been a long journey.’ Google CEO Sundar Pichai on new, widespread commitments to racial equity," 18 June 2020

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


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


1799, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for past

Adjective, Preposition, Noun, and Adverb

Middle English, from past participle of passen to pass

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Time Traveler for past

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for past

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Past.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/past. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for past

How to pronounce past (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of past

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: having existed in a time before the present : from, done, or used in an earlier time
used to refer to a time that has gone by recently
used to say what someone or something was in the past

English Language Learners Definition of past (Entry 2 of 4)

: at the farther side of (something) : beyond (a particular place)
: up to and beyond (a person or place)
: later than (a time)



English Language Learners Definition of past (Entry 3 of 4)

: an earlier time : the time before the present
: the events of a person's life, of a place, etc., before the present time



English Language Learners Definition of past (Entry 4 of 4)

: to and beyond a certain point or time
\ ˈpast How to pronounce past (audio) \

Kids Definition of past

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : of or relating to a time that has gone by I've worked for the past month.
2 : relating to a verb tense that expresses a time gone by
3 : no longer serving a past president

Kids Definition of past (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : beyond entry 2 sense 1 We left at ten minutes past five.
2 : going close to and then beyond She walked past my house.



Kids Definition of past (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : a former time In the past trains went from here to New York.
2 : life or history of a time gone by We're studying the nation's past.



Kids Definition of past (Entry 4 of 4)

: so as to pass by or beyond A deer ran past.

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More from Merriam-Webster on past

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for past

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with past

Spanish Central: Translation of past

Nglish: Translation of past for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of past for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about past

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