\ ˈpast \

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 \ adjective

Synonyms for past

Synonyms: Adjective

erstwhile, former, late, old, once, onetime, other, quondam, sometime, whilom

Synonyms: Preposition

beyond, over

Synonyms: Noun

auld lang syne, history, yesterday, yesteryear, yore

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Examples of past in a Sentence


She was hired based on her past experience in sales. a past editor of the newspaper


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.


Past, present, and future are all linked together. The past of “walk” is “walked.”


Several weeks went past before we heard from her.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Occasionally, Joan gets updates on past clients: One mom sends a back-to-school photo each year. Tracy Saelinger, Woman's Day, "This Nurse Helps New Moms When They're Most Vulnerable," 8 Jan. 2019 The past ski season indicates Vail’s network effect is working, said Chris Woronka, an analyst for Deutsche Bank. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Vail Expansion Plan Goes Aggressive and Wipes Out," 11 Dec. 2018 Expect more of the same Friday, but first here’s a look at the four games the teams have played the past four seasons. Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times, "Pac-12 championship the next step in UW’s short — but intense — rivalry with Utah," 28 Nov. 2018 At least four have lived past age 40, including one to 43 — a record for the species. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 2018 In years past, one talent and one swimsuit winner were named in each of the three preliminary nights of the Miss America pagaent, which started in 1921. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Miss America swimsuit competition 'behind us,' contestants say at prelims," 6 Sep. 2018 After an 11-year drought, the Lions have made the playoffs three of the past seven seasons under two different coaches. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Robert Porcher predicts playoffs for Detroit Lions: 'This is our year'," 12 July 2018 Bryant, who is 6 feet, 215 pounds, didn’t live up to the hype the past two seasons. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Cardinals could be players in NFL supplementary draft because of available defensive backs," 10 July 2018 The Broncos have advanced to the NCAA Tournament three of the past four seasons, but those accomplishments didn't do much to impress the tournament selection committee. Rachel Roberts, idahostatesman, "Boise State will host Final Four squad in Taco Bell Arena this November," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

Microsoft’s Insider preview builds for 19H1, the next major update for Windows 10, haven’t been packed as chock full of new features as in releases past, favoring tweaks and adjustments instead. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft separates Cortana from search in new Windows 10 preview build," 16 Jan. 2019 New England needed a field goal from Stephen Gostkowski in the waning seconds to slip past the Chiefs 43-40 in one of the wildest games of the regular season in Week 6. Kyle Hightower, The Seattle Times, "Patriots primed for rematch with Chiefs in AFC title game," 14 Jan. 2019 Clark took guardianship of her two children, though it is not known whether her daughter, Lisette, lived past infancy. Ruth Hopkins, Teen Vogue, "Sacagawea Changed the Course of History and Deserves Respect," 11 Jan. 2019 The second stories of these homes were uniquely tall and featured high, arched windows that extended past the eave of the roof, adding to the heightened appearance of the house. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "French Provincial Design Has Always Set the Bar For Casual Elegance," 11 Jan. 2019 If thinking about your goal brings anxiety and/or triggers past mental struggles, consider talking with a mental health professional. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals You’ll Actually Achieve, According to Top Trainers," 3 Jan. 2019 The space agency’s New Horizons probe, which flew by Pluto in 2015, is now going to fly past another object — a type of space rock we’ve never been to before. Loren Grush, The Verge, "How to watch as NASA sends a spacecraft past a rock at the edge of the Solar System," 30 Dec. 2018 There, the 41-year-old royal expressed his hopes to bring it to London's city center, on a route right past Buckingham Palace. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth's Grandson, Peter Phillips, Wants to Organize a Horse Race Through London," 29 Nov. 2018 An asteroid that, in certain light conditions, resembles a human skull, will fly past Earth just after Halloween. James Rogers, Fox News, "Eerie skull-shaped asteroid will zoom past Earth just after Halloween," 28 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

First, Pam has built a resolutions board in the office, triggering everyone to ponder their pasts and their potential for the future (and hijinks ensue!). Vogue, "The Best New Year’s Eve–Theme Movies and TV Shows to Watch Tonight," 31 Dec. 2018 Sandwiched in between the disaster that was 2017, and the expectation that the company will go public in 2019, this was a year for Uber to put its sordid past behind it and stride confidently into the future. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Uber," 29 Dec. 2018 In the past, of course, armies used the low-tech solution of pack animals to move their gear. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Overloaded Soldier: Why U.S. Infantry Now Carry More Weight Than Ever," 26 Dec. 2018 She’s driven herself literally sick from dodging Kevin’s questions and pushing away her past. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is Us Reveals Zoe’s Heartbreaking Trauma," 14 Nov. 2018 His entire race was defined by his venture capital past, with Denham casting him as a Silicon Valley insider who was responsible for Bessemer portfolio companies that shifted jobs overseas. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Josh Harder is in a dead heat in his congressional race to become the only venture capitalist in the House of Representatives," 7 Nov. 2018 Preserving our past, as ideas of home rapidly change One of the issues faced by nonprofit preservationists, and those wanting to save history from development and the wrecking ball, is one of experience. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rethinking the modern house museum," 12 Oct. 2018 Though the number of U.S. deaths from mass shootings was down from 2017, the tragedies inspired a louder response from gun-control activists than in the past. WSJ, "Immigration, Mueller Probe Boosted U.S. Tensions This Year," 18 Dec. 2018 Xbox is another area where Microsoft sells subscriptions, and Microsoft has in the past sold subscription bundles that include Xbox Gold. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft is putting together a Microsoft 365 subscription for home users," 13 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

As Chattuporn explained various customs to us, young monks in training, no more than 10 years old, strolled past silently in orange robes. David Amsden, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Bespoke River Cruise Through the Golden Triangle," 19 Nov. 2018 Several boxy, leather Dolce & Gabbana fall 2018 handbags hanging on drones floated past, eliciting gasps from the audience. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "Purse-Carrying Drones Hovered Down the Dolce & Gabbana Runway," 25 Feb. 2018 Consequently, the belt didn’t slide down as the miles ticked past, as happened on other packs. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018

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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Statistics for past

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for past

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

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More Definitions for past



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 \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with past

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for past

Spanish Central: Translation of past

Nglish: Translation of past for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of past for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about past

Comments on past

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