\ 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

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 Looking back on times of tragedy and triumph in the world through the years, the footage featured clips of anchors past and present, as well as other milestone moments from the series' run. Nicholas Rice,, 14 Jan. 2022 That attitude has endeared Holden to teammates and coaches past and present. Edward Lee,, 14 Jan. 2022 The more Dan watches, the more the lines between past and present, between fantasy and reality, begin to blur, with the grainy video -- and glitches that hint at the supernatural -- compounding the difficulty in keeping them separate. Brian Lowry, CNN, 14 Jan. 2022 Tierney Plumb describes how a legendary break shaped Half Moon Bay’s past, present and future, in SFGate. Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2022 Who killed adult Travis?), thriller and horror elements and superb performances from actors in both its past and present timelines. Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Jan. 2022 The street connects the city’s past and present: On one end sits the cluster of Old West-style buildings of the historic center, and on the other, the sprawl of fast food outlets and big box retailers. New York Times, 10 Jan. 2022 The Soviet collapse is but one of many events, past and future, that Zimov claims to have foretold. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 Part of my annual escape from the distractions of civilization is to connect with man and nature, both present and past. San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Back inside the building, Dunn positioned himself on the floor below the Rotunda, stopping rioters who were trying to get past him to an area where officers were recovering. New York Times, 4 Jan. 2022 The father then attempted to keep the boyfriend from leaving; however, the boyfriend grabbed the father by the neck and shoved past him to go outside and cool down. John Benson, cleveland, 29 Dec. 2021 On Wednesday, the same day the National Cathedral memorialized 800,000 dead, Erin went to the store, where a woman leaned past her to reach for something. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, 18 Dec. 2021 Mitchell walks the ball up the court, gets the switch the Clippers will give pretty easily, then goes 100% at Morris, stops on a dime with a crossover between the legs, then attacks again to get past him. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Dec. 2021 Tui birds, small and oil-black, flew past us, flashing their iridescent tail feathers, and rock-hopper penguins burst from the rollers that swept gently up to the shore. Simon Willis, Travel + Leisure, 14 Dec. 2021 As Taylor talked to Eric Cooper’s father, a boy sprinted past them and plowed face-first into a pile of dirt twice his height. Washington Post, 14 Dec. 2021 Drivers on Connecticut highways say that fellow motorists have been zooming past them at speeds that are faster than ever. Christopher Keating,, 8 Dec. 2021 When guards opened the cell door, nineteen migrants burst past them. Ian Urbina, The New Yorker, 28 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun No Way Home features not one but three webslingers, as Tom Holland is joined by Spideys past — Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire — in order to save the multiverse. Lester Fabian Brathwaite,, 7 Jan. 2022 But the thick jungle reveals the secrets of the Yucatan Peninsula's ancient past — Mayan ruins. Meagan Drillinger, Travel + Leisure, 6 Jan. 2022 If a player was on the list last month, his past ranking is in parenthesis. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 6 Jan. 2022 Many regional memory activists lost interest or even changed their minds about the Soviet past. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 6 Jan. 2022 In a place like New York, each generation is buried under fresh layers of gentrification, and each new developer or house-flipper is eager to erase the past in search of a quick buck. Colin Dickey, The Atlantic, 5 Jan. 2022 In terms of my creative life and past, Homeworld has been a constant companion in a way. Josh Chesler, SPIN, 5 Jan. 2022 Even the name of her company is meant to invoke some colorful past. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 5 Jan. 2022 The same area has been home to a large lava lake at various times throughout the volcano's eruptive past. CBS News, 4 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The number of borrowers who are 30 or more days past due but not in foreclosure fell to 1.9 million for the first time since the initial run-up at the start of the pandemic. Washington Post, 23 Dec. 2021 According to the company, scammers may aggressively tell a customer their utility bill is past due and service will be disconnected in a short period of time, around 30 minutes or so if a payment is not made. Brooks Sutherland, The Enquirer, 17 Nov. 2021 Richard Smith, the former editor of the British Medical Journal, suggested in July that the scientific community is long past due for a reckoning on the prevalence of false data in the literature. James Heathers, The Atlantic, 23 Oct. 2021 Outside her work, Shields continues to push past the stigma around aging, calling the a social push for acceptance relatively new. Jenna Ryu, USA TODAY, 26 Nov. 2021 The Packers will need as many cornerbacks as possible to get past high-flying offenses like Tampa Bay, the Rams, Arizona and Dallas come January. Rob Reischel, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 Goals were at a premium in the late game, where fourth-seeded Eagle River needed overtime to get past fifth-seeded West 2-1. Anchorage Daily News, 5 May 2021 The order also applies to small-business customers who have bills at least 60 days past due. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 June 2021 It’s actually way past discovered, and pretty well mapped. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 26 Dec. 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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Dictionary Entries Near past




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Statistics for past

Last Updated

19 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Past.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on past

Nglish: Translation of past for Spanish Speakers

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


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