\ 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 past (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 The past 15 games matched MLS players against touring European clubs. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2021 Tampa Bay hasn’t lost by more than two runs in the past 26 games, the longest run in the AL this season, and found another way to win to get to 3-3 in June after 22 victories in May, the most for any month in franchise history. Schuyler Dixon,, 7 June 2021 Nearly all of that production has come in the past seven games. Matt Le Cren,, 5 June 2021 The Tide entered Saturday’s elimination game having scored a total of three runs in its past three games, all losses, since an upset SEC tournament win over Tennessee. Mike Rodak |, al, 5 June 2021 Shortstop Nick Ahmed, who had four hits on Thursday night and is 14 for 38 (.412) over his past nine games, said he did not get discouraged by his slow start at the plate. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 5 June 2021 Entering Saturday, Detroit had lost 13 of its past 14 games to the White Sox. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 5 June 2021 The lineup has compiled innings of six, five and four runs in its past three games. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 June 2021 Back spasms have sidelined him the past three games. Dallas News, 4 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition There was a lot more buzz in the fabled park, with the fans roaring after the national anthem and cheering loudly when Eovaldi fired a fastball past the swing of Magnerius Sierra, the game’s first batter. Ken Powtak, ajc, 30 May 2021 The fund quickly went past an initial goal of $30,000, raising nearly $1 million. Patrick Kennedy, Star Tribune, 30 May 2021 Bote clutched his left shoulder after sliding past the bag and was in obvious pain. Paul Sullivan,, 29 May 2021 And while a few movies have maneuvered past Netflix’s first big cartoon this year, Bigfoot Family has stayed strong thanks to such a stellar performance this past March. Travis Bean, Forbes, 29 May 2021 Cave openings are near the driveway and past the shop, which has office lofts and RV garage bays. oregonlive, 29 May 2021 That's the index's fourth straight monthly increase and follows a bumpy few weeks in the markets as investors moved past a stellar corporate earnings season and focused on the tug-of-war between the economic recovery and rising inflation. Arkansas Online, 29 May 2021 Gil then lofted the free kick to the edge of the penalty area, Buksa finishing past Kenneth Vermeer., 29 May 2021 Dinh advises professional photographers to shoot with a wide lens (24-50 millimeters) to capture the sun setting with the surrounding buildings and scenery, or a telephoto lens (70-300 millimeters) to zoom past the crowds and capture the sun alone. Alaa Elassar, CNN, 29 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Representation and inclusion should be as much about amending the past as taking practical steps to shore up the future. Washington Post, 30 May 2021 The smell of stale beer that occasionally emanated from the Coke Lot during twilight hours in years past was replaced by the scent of crackling campfires being lit for warmth and breakfast potatoes sizzling on grills. Justin L. Mack, The Indianapolis Star, 30 May 2021 And that has led to a kind of modern sport: Find an outrageous piece of a person’s past that can be weaponized, put it on display for all to see and hope for the worst. New York Times, 29 May 2021 Events from a mythical past are occurring again, like a cycle re-igniting. Sheena Scott, Forbes, 29 May 2021 Cordae takes the second verse, looking to the future while reflecting on the past. Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, 28 May 2021 Representing the past always draws on the impulse for accuracy as well as the interests of those doing the representing. Michael S. Roth, WSJ, 28 May 2021 And there are still some skeptics about Crist’s Republican past. Anthony Man,, 28 May 2021 The junior slid a shot past UNC goalie Taylor Moreno to put the Eagles up, 1-0, just 1:18 into the game., 28 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb For nearly a decade, New York City has struggled to help homeless people find apartments of their own, as rents hovered in the stratosphere and the number of people stuck in shelters surged past 60,000. New York Times, 27 May 2021 Now, fatalities appear to be slowing as well, in another sign the state is slowly moving past COVID-19. Alex Putterman,, 25 May 2021 Again notably smooth and quiet, the Lightning zoomed past 60 mph from a standing start and quickly surpassed 90. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 20 May 2021 Prosecutors say Schaffer, armed with bear spray and wearing a tactical vest, put himself at the front of a crowd that pushed past four Capitol Police officers into the building. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, 18 May 2021 Alibaba’s total annual active consumers across all its platforms worldwide shot past 1 billion for the year. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 14 May 2021 On April 27, the country reported 1,111 new cases, the first time daily infections had surged past 1,000 since the pandemic began. Nectar Gan, CNN, 7 May 2021 Hundreds marched past or stopped at the Statehouse, the Ohio Supreme Court and police headquarters among other spots, the station said. Brian Dakss, Victoria Albert, CBS News, 22 Apr. 2021 Families with young children came to stand on the sidewalk and raise their fists as the group marched past. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 24 Aug. 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

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Past.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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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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