\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Naturalization ceremonies normally take place at courthouses around the country, but for the past four years, the U.S. courts have been bringing these patriotic occasions out of the courthouse and into communities. Clare Hymes, CBS News, "15 new Americans sworn in as citizens before the first pitch at Phillies-Red Sox game," 17 Sep. 2019 In years past, its students took part in the abolitionist and suffragist movements. Melanie Eversley, Fortune, "For Fourth Democratic Debate, Candidates Will Head to Otterbein Campus," 17 Sep. 2019 Venues were packed as designers tried to build on past successes and break new ground with daring collections. Washington Post, "Burberry, Christopher Kane show new collections in London," 16 Sep. 2019 Portugal has been submitting films to the Academy Awards for the past 40 years, but has yet to gain a nomination. Nick Holdsworth, The Hollywood Reporter, "Oscars: Portugal Selects 'The Domain' for International Feature Category," 14 Sep. 2019 In doing so, the Black Knights have reclaimed a degree of the program's past success roughly six decades after its last period of consistent national competitiveness. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "With a program rebuilt, Army ready to make more history as when it visits No. 7 Michigan," 5 Sep. 2019 While not matching her past critical successes, the show proved popular. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Valerie Harper, TV’s Rhoda, has died at 80," 30 Aug. 2019 While not matching her past critical successes, the show proved popular. John Rogers,, "Valerie Harper, who played Rhoda on back-to-back hit sitcoms in the 1970s, dies at 80," 30 Aug. 2019 This tribute to Paisley is part of New Balance's 'Live it' campaign, which draws inspiration from Liverpool's past successes to unite Reds fans across the world., "New Balance Unveil New 'Blackout' Liverpool Shirt With Tribute to Bob Paisley," 28 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

On that long pass from Aaron Rodgers to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the ball traveled 46 yards in the air past the line of scrimmage — a deep throw made possible by a coverage breakdown. Rich Campbell,, "5 observations from rewatching the Bears’ Week 2 win over the Broncos, including an offense that’s stuck and a defense that prevented huge chunk plays," 17 Sep. 2019 With Liverpool chasing the game, Van Dijk tried to pass the ball out of defense only to lay it into the path of Llorente to roll the ball past Adrian. Matias Grez, CNN, "Liverpool stunned by Napoli late goals in the Champions League," 17 Sep. 2019 Sarah Thomas set off from Dover just past midnight on Sunday. NBC News, "American cancer survivor is first to swim the English channel four times non-stop," 17 Sep. 2019 The prosecutor alleges that Lopez, upon waking to find the condo ablaze around 3:15 a.m., went past the children’s bedrooms on his way down the stairs and punched out a first-floor window to try to escapethe flames. Pomerado News, "Father convicted for Rancho Bernardo fire that killed two children," 16 Sep. 2019 The Mets are 4-1 in Matz’s past five outings, but 3-9 in his past 12 on the road and 0-5 in his past five away from home against losing teams. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "New York Mets at Colorado Rockies odds, picks and betting tips," 16 Sep. 2019 Jacoby Brissett avoids one sack, but can't get past the line of scrimmage on third down. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "Colts get first win of season in nail-biter over Titans, but Vinatieri worries prevail," 15 Sep. 2019 The governor said the Florida Highway Patrol would begin escorting fuel trucks to help them get past the lines of waiting motorists and replenish gas stations. Ellis Rua,, "Florida preps for an ‘absolute monster’: Hurricane Dorian," 30 Aug. 2019 But the governor said the Florida Highway Patrol would begin escorting fuel trucks to help them get past the lines of waiting motorists and replenish gas stations. Author: Adriana Gomez Licon, Ellis Rua, Anchorage Daily News, "Hurricane Dorian puts 10 million Floridians in its path," 30 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The 49-year-old athlete, whose real name is Vincent Sennen Garcia, has been candid about his mental health struggles in the past, however his condition since being hospitalized amid a battle with depression has been kept mostly private. Georgia Slater,, "Surfer Sunny Garcia Has 'Said a Few Words' Months After Being Hospitalized Amid Depression Battle," 17 Sep. 2019 Brennan has spoken in the past of the need for a new city hall building to replace the current 1926 structure, which is cramped and is not easily adaptable to modern amenities., "University Heights council agrees to buy a house, wait to buy new city entrance signs," 17 Sep. 2019 But in the past, sickle cell drugs had to reduce the number of painful crises in order to win approval, and voxelotor’s skeptics say its data are simply not compelling. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "A new sickle cell drug could soon get U.S. approval. But does it work?," 17 Sep. 2019 How many Emmys has Game of Thrones won in the past? Time, "Everything to Know About the 2019 Emmys," 17 Sep. 2019 King has been getting messages of gratitude from people with children receiving treatment at the hospital, as well as from those who've received treatment there in the past and are now cancer-free. Ryan Prior, CNN, "A fan held a sign on 'College GameDay' asking people to Venmo him money for beer. Now he's donating it all to a children's hospital," 17 Sep. 2019 Iraq lies to the north, and the U.S. in the past has accused Iran of stashing explosives with affiliated militias in the country. Jordan Fabian, Fortune, "After Saudi Oil Attack, Trump Pledges Help for Middle East Allies," 16 Sep. 2019 In the past, Friday has been for the preliminaries: the Gemuetlicheit Games and dachshund races. Polly Campbell,, "Everything you need to know about Oktoberfest Zinzinnati," 16 Sep. 2019 In addition to Teen Vogue cover star Naomi Scott sporting Burberry on our latest cover, celebs including Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Beyoncé have all rocked some form of the brand in the past. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "How You Can Livestream Burberry’s London Fashion Week 2019 Show," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Forklifts and rattling ice carts flew past in all directions, like panicked birds. Neil Shea, National Geographic, "Tokyo became a megacity by reinventing itself," 12 June 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about past

Statistics for past

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for past

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a bell tower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!