v. passed, pass·ing, pass·es
1. To move on or ahead; proceed: The train passed through fields of wheat.
2. To extend; run: The river passes through our land.
a. To move by or in front of something: The band passed and the crowd cheered.
b. To move past another vehicle: The sports car passed on the right.
4. To gain passage despite obstacles: pass through difficult years.
5. To move past in time; elapse: The days passed quickly.
a. To be transferred from one to another; circulate: The wine passed around the table.
b. Sports To transfer a ball or puck to a teammate.
7. To be communicated or exchanged between persons: Loud words passed in the corridor.
8. To be transferred or conveyed to another by will or deed: The title passed to the older heir.
9. To undergo transition from one condition, form, quality, or characteristic to another: Daylight passed into darkness.
10. To come to an end: My anger suddenly passed. The headache finally passed.
11. To cease to exist; die. Often used with on: The patient passed on during the night.
12. To happen; take place: wanted to know what had passed at the meeting.
a. To be allowed to happen without notice or challenge: Let their rude remarks pass.
b. Sports & Games To decline one's turn to bid, draw, bet, compete, or play.
c. To decline an offer: When we offered him dessert, he passed.
14. To undergo an examination or a trial with favorable results.
a. To serve as a barely acceptable substitute: The spare tire was nearly bald but would pass until we bought a new one.
b. To be accepted as a member of a group by denying one's own ancestry or background.
16. To be approved or adopted: The motion to adjourn passed.
a. To make a decision: to pass upon a legal question.
b. To convey property to an heir or heirs: to pass according to the terms of the will.
18. Medicine To be discharged from a bodily part: The patient had a lot of pain when the kidney stone passed.
19. Sports To thrust or lunge in fencing.
a. To go by without stopping; proceed beyond or leave behind: The bus passed a gas station.
b. To go across; go through: We passed the border into Mexico.
2. To allow to go by or elapse; spend: He passed his winter in Vermont.
a. To go by without paying attention to; disregard or ignore: If you pass the new photographs in the collection, you'll miss some outstanding ones.
b. To fail to pay (a dividend).
4. To go beyond; surpass: The inheritance passed my wildest dreams.
a. To undergo (a trial or examination) with favorable results: She passed every test.
b. To cause or allow to go through a trial, test, or examination successfully: The instructor passed all the candidates.
a. To cause to move: We passed our hands over the fabric.
b. To cause to move into a certain position: pass a ribbon around a package.
c. To cause to move as part of a process: pass liquid through a filter.
d. To cause to go by: The sergeant passed his troops before the grandstand.
e. To allow to cross a barrier: The border guard passed the tourists.
f. Baseball To walk (a batter).
g. To maneuver (the bull) by means of a pase in bullfighting.
a. To cause to be transferred from one to another; circulate: They passed the news quickly.
b. To hand over to someone else: Please pass the bread.
c. Sports To transfer (a ball, for example) to a teammate, as by throwing.
d. To cause to be accepted; circulate fraudulently: pass counterfeit money.
e. Law To convey (property) to an heir or heirs: to pass an estate.
8. Medicine To discharge (a waste product, for example) from a bodily part.
9. Medicine To introduce (an instrument) into a bodily cavity.
a. To approve; adopt: The legislature passed the bill.
b. To be sanctioned, ratified, or approved by: The bill passed the House of Representatives.
11. To pronounce; utter: pass judgment; pass sentence on an offender.
1. The act of passing; passage.
2. A way, such as a narrow gap between mountains, that affords passage around, over, or through a barrier.
a. A permit, ticket, or authorization to come and go at will.
b. A free ticket entitling one to transportation or admission.
c. Written leave of absence from military duty.
d. A passing grade, especially when graded using a pass-fail grading system.
a. A sweep or run, as by an aircraft, over or toward an area or target.
b. A single complete cycle of operations, as by a machine or computer program.
5. A condition or situation, often critical in nature; a predicament: contract negotiations that had come to an emotional pass.
6. A sexual invitation or overture: Was he making a pass at her?
7. A motion of the hand or the waving of a wand: The magician made a pass over the hat.
a. Sports A transfer of a ball or puck between teammates.
b. Sports A lunge or thrust in fencing.
c. Baseball A base on balls.
9. Sports & Games A refusal to bid, draw, bet, compete, or play.
10. Games A winning throw of the dice in craps.
11. A pase in bullfighting.
1. To pass out of existence; end.
2. To die.
To be accepted as or believed to be: You could pass for a teenager. The fake painting passed for an original.
1. To offer, sell, or put into circulation (an imitation) as genuine: pass off glass as a gemstone.
2. To present (one's self) as other than what one is: tried to pass himself off as a banker.
To lose consciousness.
To leave out; disregard.
pass up InformalIdioms:
To let go by; reject: pass up a chance for promotion; an opportunity too good to pass up.
bring to pass
To cause to happen.
come to pass
To pass an examination or inspection; measure up to a given standard.
pass (one's) lips
1. To be eaten or drunk.
2. To issue or be spoken: Rumors never passed her lips.
pass the hat
To take up a collection of money.
pass the time of day
To exchange greetings or engage in pleasantries.
pass the torch
To relinquish (responsibilities, for example) to another or others.
[Middle English passen, from Old French passer, from Vulgar Latin passāre, from Latin passus, step; see PACE1.]
Usage Note: The past tense and past participle of pass is passed: They passed (or have passed) our home. Time had passed slowly. Past is the corresponding adjective (in centuries past), adverb (drove past), preposition (past midnight), and noun (lived in the past).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.