1. Moving by; going past: The child waved to the passing cars.
2. Of brief duration; transitory: a passing fancy.
3. Cursory or superficial; casual: a passing glance.
4. Allowing one to pass a test, course of study, inspection, or examination; satisfactory: a passing grade.
5. Archaic Extreme or great; surpassing: "'Tis a passing shame" (Shakespeare).
Very; surpassingly: "I will mention only one particular aspect of the current mess because ... this one is surely something new and passing strange" (Walker Percy).
1. The act of one that passes or the fact of having passed: the passing of another summer.
2. A place where or a means by which one can pass.
While going by; incidentally.
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.