\ 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

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

Magic president of operations Jeff Weltman oversaw the past two drafts, where the team selected Mohamed Bamba and Jonathan Isaac from the sixth spots. Roy Parry,, "What can Magic mine from 16th pick in NBA Draft? Their roster provides one example," 19 June 2019 Madonna once gave shape to pop’s future (Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, etc.) while Springsteen once gave shape to rock’s past (Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, etc.). Chris Richards, Washington Post, "Bruce Springsteen and Madonna are subcultures now," 17 June 2019 In decades past, especially for console games, that crunch period was typically limited to the weeks before a game’s release date. Time, "Video Game Creators Are Burned Out and Desperate for Change," 11 June 2019 In years past, company officials wouldn’t even acknowledge AMD existed, much less call it out directly. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Intel challenges AMD's Ryzen 3000 CPUs to take the Core i9-9900K's real-world gaming crown," 10 June 2019 Karen de Hartog, past president of the Shorewood Historical Society, said an architectural survey conducted in 2011 listed Abele's house on a short list of Shorewood buildings that would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Shorewood residents call for historic preservation laws in wake of Abele's demolition plan," 6 June 2019 In years past, residents needing a bus seat to evacuate were told to gather at the Joseph S. Yenni Building in Elmwood; this year, the site is Delgado Community College’s East Jefferson campus in the 5200 block of Airline Drive in Metairie. Drew Broach,, "For hurricane season, make a plan, assemble a kit, prepare to flee, Jefferson officials warn," 5 June 2019 In years past, new apps would be released and take the world by storm, but the charts are mostly dominated by familiar names like Facebook, Instagram, Google Maps and Waze. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Apple WWDC 2019: What's coming this fall to iOS 13, Watch OS and iPad," 3 June 2019 In addition to viewing foods from decades past, she was also introduced to the latest developments in the self-service checkout. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Was Introduced to the Concept of a Grocery Store Self Check Out Today," 22 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

The findings pinpoint vital changes that are needed to ensure past misbehaviors, mistakes and inaction are not repeated at this university. Kathleen Megan,, "Central Connecticut professors depart university after sexual misconduct investigations," 20 June 2019 The two-lane mountain road serves as an entrance to Yosemite from the east along Highway 120 and allows access from Crane Flat up past Olmstead Point, Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows. Tom Stienstra,, "Yosemite to open Tioga Road Friday," 20 June 2019 Each of the eight guest rooms is themed, some of which honor past residents. Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle, "Galveston's Carr Mansion claims spot on Texas Monthly's best new hotels list," 20 June 2019 Then with two outs in the third, Woodruff doubled past a diving Renfroe in left field. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Padres 4, Brewers 1: Rookie pitcher short-circuits offense once again," 19 June 2019 McGilvery crossed the yellow-green lawn, past the playground and the alligator statues, and invited people tending to Saturday barbecues. Alden Woods, azcentral, "Stories of Eastlake Park help a community regain past, look to future," 19 June 2019 As a convoy of trucks rolled past the building honking their horns, Senate Republican leader Sen. Herman Baertschiger of Grant Pass looked on from the Capitol steps., "Hundreds of truckers, loggers rally at Oregon Capitol against carbon bill," 19 June 2019 Conversely, an element of Industry 4.0 that has evolved past the embryonic stage is the use of sensor data to drive plant operations—especially for the task of predictive maintenance. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "The fourth Industrial revolution emerges from AI and the Internet of Things," 18 June 2019 Quintero fired a low shot from 25 yards past Houston goalkeeper Michael Nelson. Pioneer Press, Twin Cities, "Minnesota United rallies past defending champ Houston in U.S. Open Cup," 18 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Oberlin College has an admirable liberal past and a contemptible progressive present that will devalue its degrees far into the future. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: Oberlin has graduated from self-caricature to disgrace," 20 June 2019 Washington — Oberlin College has an admirable liberal past and a contemptible progressive present that will devalue its degrees far into the future. George Will, National Review, "Oberlin Has Graduated from Self-Caricature to Disgrace," 20 June 2019 Still wounded by his father’s betrayal, Zach dresses like a homeless person, lives in a slovenly rat trap of an apartment with two dogs, and speaks with good-humored, obscenity-laced bitterness about the past. Peter Keough,, "In Focus: Back to a future that didn’t go according to plan," 20 June 2019 On Tuesday, Tilton extended the same offer to all his students — past and present — on Twitter and offered to foster them if their parents were deported. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "A teacher opens his home to students with deported parents. The tweet went viral.," 19 June 2019 The container sits on my desk as a reminder of time long past and the price that was paid. Jerry Shnay, Daily Southtown, "Shnay: Bad spring ends on high note," 10 June 2019 This allows us to recreate a picture of what life was like in the past and come away with lessons about the interaction of climate, ecosystems, and species survival or extinction. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Whale fossil found at Oceanside resort construction site," 9 June 2019 For Carlos Santana, the past and present are coming together in perfect harmony this year. Jordan Runtagh,, "Santana Talks New Album Africa Speaks, 20th Anniversary of 'Smooth' and Return to Woodstock," 7 June 2019 For Ventimiglia and show creator Dan Fogelman, showing Jack's past and time fighting in the war was its own task in getting the story right in a real way. Brian Porreca, The Hollywood Reporter, "'This Is Us': Milo Ventimiglia Talks Living Up to Jack Pearson," 7 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

What began as six competitions a year had soared past 20. Amy Drew Thompson,, "Committed to BBQ: Orlando area barbecue champs share stories of smoke and glory," 13 June 2019 Temperatures will soar past 100 degrees with higher, dangerous heat indices. Janice Dean, Fox News, "Severe storms continue across the Midwest and dangerous heat grips the South and Southwest," 20 July 2018 But their incredible playoff run has taken them straight into summer in the Mojave Desert, where temperatures routinely soar past 100 degrees from May to October. Greg Beacham,, "Ice melting to slush in Vegas heat at Stanley Cup Final," 30 May 2018 Having moved past 100 at-bats and into his second month in the majors, Guzman is getting smarter at the plate. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: Who saw Odor delivering the winning hit? Maybe we should have," 30 May 2018 The kid on the back of my bike also had a slingshot and was shooting monkeys in the trees and some other people going past on motorbikes -- shooting rocks at them! Gab Ginsberg, Billboard, "Glass Animals Give Fans a Look at Their Stormy Red Rocks Set in 'The Other Side of Paradise' Video: Exclusive," 31 May 2018 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

22 Jun 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 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

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

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


to take the place or position of

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