past

1 of 4

adjective

1
a
: 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

past

2 of 4

preposition

1
a
: beyond the age for or of
past playing with dolls
b
: after
half past two
2
a
: 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

past

3 of 4

noun

1
a
: time gone by
b
: something that happened or was done in the past
regret the past
2
a
: 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
pastless adjective

past

4 of 4

adverb

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
And a live invasive carp was even captured seven miles from Lake Michigan past barriers in the canal system designed to keep the invaders out. Caitlin Looby, Journal Sentinel, 21 June 2024 An intense heat wave these past few weeks has made for a particularly combustible fire season, as temperatures brushed past 100 degrees and strong, dry winds supercharged spreading flames. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2024
Preposition
The closest Edmonton came to scoring was when Connor Brown tried to get a loose puck past Sergei Bobrovsky after Bobrovsky had stopped a Mattias Janmark breakaway midway through the frame after the referees already blew the play dead. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 9 June 2024 Townsend, 60, is long past doing time in county jail and flaunting his allegiance to the Rollin’ 20s Bloods by tooling around in a red ’64 Chevy. Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2024
Noun
Karina Pratt told the Miami Herald she’s had a long past with Bancroft, a friendship that lasted 14 years. Devoun Cetoute, Miami Herald, 8 June 2024 Saratoga’s past has always been tethered to its future. Joe Drape, New York Times, 7 June 2024
Adverb
Law enforcement officials say the convenience has enabled people to buy drugs more easily than in years past. Connor Sheets, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2024 In years past, the San Diego Padres chipped in, providing hats and uniforms. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for past 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'past.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective, Preposition, Noun, and Adverb

Middle English, from past participle of passen to pass

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Preposition

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

Noun

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

Adverb

1799, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near past

Cite this Entry

“Past.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/past. Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

past

1 of 4 adjective
1
a
: ago
10 years past
b
: just gone by
for the past few months
2
: having existed or taken place in a period before the present
past customs
3
: of, relating to, or being a verb tense that in English is usually formed by internal vowel change (as in sang) or by the addition of a suffix (as in laughed) and that expresses time gone by
4
: no longer serving
a past president

past

2 of 4 preposition
1
: beyond entry 2 sense 1
past 50 years old
half past ten
2
: in a course by and then beyond
the road goes past the house

past

3 of 4 noun
1
: a former time or event
2
b
: a verb form in the past tense
3
: a past life or history
especially : a past life that is secret or questionable

past

4 of 4 adverb
: so as to pass by
a deer ran past

More from Merriam-Webster on past

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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