\ 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

Investigators are likely to look at areas of Google’s business that have drawn past criticism, including its online search and advertising services as well as its Android smartphone operating system. Washington Post, "The Latest: Groups praise states for launching Google probe," 10 Sep. 2019 The three Milwaukee women, who have past history, got into a physical altercation inside the nail salon. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Wauwatosa nail salon owner was shot in the toe during a fight among patrons, police say," 10 Sep. 2019 The under is 6-0 in Odorizzi’s past six against the Tribe, and 20-8-1 in the past 29 meetings at Target Field, including Friday. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins odds, picks and betting tips," 7 Sep. 2019 Especially for grandparents, as safety recommendations have changed drastically, due to high rates of injury and death in years past., "Safe Kids Carroll County: A primer for grandparents on ever-changing child safety recommendations," 6 Sep. 2019 Hurricane Dorian is on a collision course with the Carolinas Hurricane Dorian swept past Florida on Wednesday, heading toward the Carolinas, claiming its first life in the USA and promising heavy rains, powerful winds and damaging surge. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "This is what 'total devastation' looks like," 4 Sep. 2019 Its proposed name and high-tech focus notwithstanding, the European Future Fund would hark back to decades past. The Economist, "The Europeans want their own Vision Fund to invest in tech," 31 Aug. 2019 To call the game past halfway done at that point would be literal. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Rays take see-saw battle from Astros to avoid sweep," 29 Aug. 2019 Just this past weekend at the largest Disney fan event, D23 Expo, held in Anaheim, California, the company announced that its famous park in Orlando will be welcoming a slew of new attractions, including ones dedicated to Moana and Mary Poppins. Megan Uy, House Beautiful, "Disney World's Epcot Is Getting A Whole New Look—With New Rides And Attractions," 27 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

Although there are many past examples of tyrannosaur fossils showcasing stages of injury and healing, the location of Victoria's are right on the front of the lower jaw. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Meet Victoria, one of the most complete T. rex fossils in the world," 12 Sep. 2019 Dyeing dart frogs traveled approximately 39 meters on average, hopping past ponds an average distance of 19 meters away. Jennifer Leman, Scientific American, "Poison Frog Fathers Ferry Their Tadpoles Great Distances," 4 Sep. 2019 It was previously forecasted to move northward on Monday — swirling towards the East Coast, past Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Claudia Harmata,, "Bethenny Frankel Travels to Florida and the Bahamas to Help with Hurricane Dorian Relief," 3 Sep. 2019 Pros for Conn's Conn's jumped 13.3% after the furniture and electronics retailer blew past Wall Street's second quarter profit forecasts. Damian J. Troise, USA TODAY, "Dow down over 350 points as US stocks tank early: New China tariffs kicking in," 3 Sep. 2019 Lines of fresh-faced girls stream past sorority houses and shirtless guys toss footballs on the lawns. Fern Kupfer, Twin Cities, "Fern Kupfer: Tips for college: How to please your professor," 2 Sep. 2019 The 6-foot-4 sophomore wideout blew past the coverage on a post route and glided into the end zone, right into the path of Ehlinger's 28-yard touchdown pass – 21-0 Texas. Nick Moyle,, "No. 10 Texas cruises past La. Tech as No. 6 LSU looms," 31 Aug. 2019 The 6-foot-4 sophomore wideout blew past the coverage on a post route and glided into the end zone, right into the path of Ehlinger’s 28-yard touchdown pass – 21-0 Texas. Nick Moyle, Houston Chronicle, "No. 10 Texas cruises past La. Tech as No. 6 LSU looms," 31 Aug. 2019 The forest is protected by Indra, being home to his friend Takshaka, and the guardian deity has sent down torrents to foil Agni’s past attempts to devour the Khandava. Girish Shahane, Quartz India, "The Amazon fires have a 3,000-year-old parallel in the Indian epic Mahabharata," 30 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the past, whenever growth looked set to slow sharply, Chinese companies could count on a stimulus package to revive it. The Economist, "China is calm as growth slows. But is it complacent?," 31 Aug. 2019 In the past, a positive diagnosis would trigger additional testing before a patient began treatment. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "D.C. will not meet goal of cutting in half new HIV diagnoses by 2020," 31 Aug. 2019 Internal emails from Juul released by the committee showed employees discussing how these programs resembled tactics used by cigarette makers in the past. Los Angeles Times, "Reports linking Juul e-cigarettes to seizures started FDA investigation," 29 Aug. 2019 Internal emails from Juul released by the committee showed employees discussing how these programs resembled tactics used by cigarette makers in the past. Anna Edney, Fortune, "Juul and Other E-Cigarette Devices Are Under Investigation by the FDA as Possible Cause of Seizures," 29 Aug. 2019 Iran at times in the past hasn’t acknowledged failed launches., "Iran planned a rocket launch against U.S. wishes. Satellite photos show it apparently didn’t go well.," 29 Aug. 2019 This is not the first time Biden has floated the idea of having a woman be his vice president, having mentioned it to CNN‘s Chris Cuomo in the past. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Biden Says He Prefers His VP To Be A Person Of Color Or A Woman," 29 Aug. 2019 Any Trump appearance in San Francisco proper would be almost guaranteed to generate huge protests, something the president has tried to avoid in the past. John Wildermuth,, "Trump heading to Bay Area for September fundraiser, GOP donors told," 28 Aug. 2019 Former Indianapolis vice president of player personnel Rex Hogan is now an assistant general manager in New York, and Hogan played a key role in facilitating the deal to get a player the Colts liked in the past. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Colts trade Nate Hairston to Jets for sixth-round 2020 draft pick," 27 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

On the Peninsula, this year’s new trail over the dam at Crystal Springs is a No. 1 hit for cyclists, a link to ride past all three lakes, and for the inspired, south to Woodside. Tom Stienstra,, "As fall heats up, Bay Area lakes are the place to cool off," 11 Sep. 2019 The drink is in the top 25 brands among malt beverages and beers, with sales speeding past all craft beer brands save for Blue Moon Belgian White, reported CBS affiliate WDJT-TV in July. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "There is a nationwide shortage of White Claw hard seltzer," 7 Sep. 2019 Rules are made to be slipped past, never stopping to consider why someone might have made those rules to start with. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "The Lonely Work of Moderating Hacker News," 8 Aug. 2019 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 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 However, for all of the telescopes successes, NASA scientists knew that some planets would slip past unnoticed. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Planet Hockey offers young players chance to improve skill set at Willowbrook camp," 11 July 2018 The expansive, white sandy beach along a half-mile boardwalk offers excellent views of the Atlantic and of ferries that chug past all day long. Sarah Wesley Lemire,, "Five Connecticut Shoreline Destinations: All You Need To Know," 15 May 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

14 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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