\ 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

January, however, traditionally is a weak month for rents, and the median January rent of $3,320, was below median rents in three months during this past spring and summer. Josh Barbanel, WSJ, "Butler Service and Free Cable No More? Landlords Rethink Concessions as Market Tightens," 14 Feb. 2019 This past spring, 33-year-old Roxsana Hernández joined the Central American caravan that is attempting to cross the United States–Mexico border to seek asylum in the U.S. Prince Shakur, Teen Vogue, "Roxsana Hernández, a 33-Year-Old Honduran Trans Woman, Died in ICE Custody Amid Concerns She Was Abused," 4 Dec. 2018 Cutler has been touring and performing for the past few years, and her debut album Knock Hard, under her moniker Yours Are the Only Ears, came out this past spring. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Meet the Folk Musician Who Moonlights as a Textile Designer," 11 Oct. 2018 That’s one focus of a new study by media nonprofit Common Sense, which polled more than 1,100 U.S. 13- to 17-year-olds this past spring. Rani Molla, Recode, "Teens are hooked on social media. But how does it make them feel about themselves?," 11 Sep. 2018 While the district went for Trump by 8 points, Cook Political Report downgraded the district from Solid Republican to Likely Republican this past spring, suggesting that Democrats might have more of a fighting chance. Li Zhou, Vox, "August 7 primary: live results for Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, and Washington," 7 Aug. 2018 Bids are estimated based on both past experience and future projections. WSJ, "Third-Party Payers Muddy Drug Incentives," 10 Jan. 2019 Michelle Obama is speaking candidly about her past issues with infertility. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Michelle Obama Conceived Sasha and Malia Using IVF After a Previous Miscarriage," 9 Nov. 2018 The Sun reported Meek graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice and was the immediate past president of the University Line Dance Club. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Thousand Oaks Shooting Victims Are Being Remembered by Friends and Family," 9 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

Our personal favorite moment is when reality star Kris Jenner walks past the box. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Watch Ellen DeGeneres Scare the Pants Off Her Staff in Hilarious New Halloween Video," 31 Oct. 2018 Ariana and Frendt walk past the orb-absorbing object. Michael Moore, The Verge, "The Gardens Between is an unexpected lesson in theoretical physics," 30 Sep. 2018 In the northbound lane of the Seward Highway and the southbound lane past Girdwood, traffic was moving slowly but surely, Doshier said. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "‘A screeching halt.’ Forest Fair crowds snarl traffic between Anchorage and Girdwood," 8 July 2018 State officials confirmed the bizarre incident, telling TV station WTNH the bear burst in through a back door of the Barkhamsted home June 28, walked past the mother and child, then proceeded to dig through the refrigerator, cabinets and pantry. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "Bold bear chases family and their pets from home, then cleans out their refrigerator," 3 July 2018 This past Fall 2019 season, pretty hair barrettes took over the runways. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Ariana Grande Knows the Power of a Good Hair Accessory," 17 Mar. 2019 To get past these hurdles, a group of astronomers at the University of Leiden built a simulation of 1,500 stars in a real place called the Orion Trapezium star cluster. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Our Galaxy Could Have 50 Billion Rogue Planets," 11 Mar. 2019 Some of these slabs might have traveled down through the upper mantle, perhaps as far as the rugged 660-km boundary or just past it. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Seismologists Discover Mountain Ranges 410 Miles Below Earth’s Surface," 19 Feb. 2019 But with a new baby—and help from her pals like Abigail (Lori Loughlin)—Elizabeth and loyal viewers alike will both find a way to move past Jack’s death. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Everything to Know About 'When Calls the Heart' Season 6," 17 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 2019 Academy of Country Music Awards featured top hits of the past and present from everyone's favorite artists, but not all of the performances were well-received. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean's ACMs Performance Left People Seriously Upset," 8 Apr. 2019 One that would include, for Chris, digging deep into Toby Damon's past and coming face-to-face with his character's life-long battle with depression. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Chris Sullivan Reveals How Toby’s Depression Took a Toll on Him," 19 Mar. 2019 But what really impresses me are the number of designers from the past and present that have evolved their voice. Joanna Saltz, House Beautiful, "5 Interior Designers Reveal the Risks That Could've Failed Spectacularly—And How They Survived," 11 Mar. 2019 But over the subsequent weeks and months, Meehan slowly revealed himself to be the very opposite: A pathological liar with an ugly temper, a criminal past, and a long history of conning, manipulating, and abusing women. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of the Events of Dirty John," 14 Jan. 2019 There are a lot of Spider-Man movies, both in the past and coming down the pipeline, and this is the big-screen debut for Miles Morales. Devon Maloney, The Verge, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse directors on the film’s gorgeous style," 17 Dec. 2018 Shifting the focus to their successes in the past and the potential for success again can be helpful, Dr. Mooney says. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "3 Things Not to Say When a Loved One With Addiction Relapses—and 6 to Try Instead," 20 Oct. 2018 On a more practical and obvious level, what joins these people and parties together from the various corners of the world is their puerile longing for a mythic past where everything was right and certain. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "I Watched the New Steve Bannon Documentary, The Brink, So You Don’t Have To," 27 Mar. 2019 Sure, Jennie added blonde highlights and purple extensions to the ends of her hair in the past, but she's never gone all-over platinum blonde. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Jennie of Blackpink Reveals New Blonde Hair in "Kill This Love" Promo," 26 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

De Ligt made amends for his early slip by leaping between Thilo Kehrer and Ruediger to head past Neuer three minutes after the break. Mike Corder, The Seattle Times, "Schulz grabs late winner as Germany beats Netherlands 3-2," 24 Mar. 2019 What's more, Sterling K. Brown (who plays Randall) didn't seem too sure that the couple was going to push past this. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "This Is Us’s Emotional Promo for Next Week Has Everyone Worked Up Over Randall and Beth," 20 Mar. 2019 Watching this moment in history inspires me and so many of my peers to push past perceived boundaries and create new possibilities. Yara Shahidi, Teen Vogue, ""Yes She Can" Is the Yara Shahidi-Approved Collection of Stories From Young Women Staffers of the Obama White House," 14 Jan. 2019 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

13 Apr 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).


having no equal

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