Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. No longer current; gone by; over: His youth is past.
  • adj. Having existed or occurred in an earlier time; bygone: past events; in years past.
  • adj. Earlier than the present time; ago: 40 years past.
  • adj. Just gone by or elapsed: in the past few days.
  • adj. Having served formerly in a given capacity, especially an official one: a past president; a past inmate of a cell.
  • adj. Grammar Of, relating to, or being a verb tense or form used to express an action or condition prior to the time it is expressed.
  • n. The time before the present.
  • n. Previous background, career, experiences, and activities: an elderly person with a distinguished past.
  • n. A former period of someone's life kept secret or thought to be shameful: a family with a checkered past.
  • n. Grammar The past tense.
  • n. Grammar A verb form in the past tense.
  • adv. So as to pass by or go beyond: He waved as he walked past.
  • prep. Beyond in time; later than or after: past midnight; a quarter past two.
  • prep. Beyond in position; farther than: The house is a mile past the first stoplight. They walked past the memorial in silence.
  • prep. Beyond the power, scope, extent, or influence of: The problem is past the point of resolution.
  • prep. Beyond in development or appropriateness: The child is past drinking from a bottle. You're past sucking your thumb, so don't do it.
  • prep. Beyond the number or amount of: The child couldn't count past 20. See Usage Note at pass.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The period of time that has already happened, in contrast to the present and the future.
  • n. The past tense.
  • adv. in a direction that passes
  • prep. beyond in place, quantity or time

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a former time or state; neither present nor future; gone by; elapsed; ended; spent
  • adv. By; beyond.
  • n. A former time or state; a state of things gone by.
  • prep. Beyond, in position, or degree; further than; beyond the reach or influence of.
  • prep. Beyond, in time; after.
  • prep. Above; exceeding; more than.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Gone by; belonging to a time previous to this; not present nor future: as, past time: one's past life.
  • Hence In the predicate, ago.
  • Spent; ended; accomplished; existing no more; over and done with.
  • That has completed a full term and is now retired: as, a past (or passed) master in free-masonry. See master.
  • That indicates or notes past time: as, a past participle; the past tense.
  • n. The time that has preceded the present; a former or bygone time, or the events of that time; that part of the history, life, or experiences of a person or thing that is passed: as, to forget the past; an unfortunate past.
  • Beyond.
  • Beyond in position; further than; also, by and beyond: as, the house stands a little past the junction.
  • Beyond the reach of; at a point that precludes or makes (something) impossible or improbable; out of the reach, scope, or influence of: as, past redemption; past all sense of shame; past comprehension.
  • Beyond in number or amount; above; more than; exceeding.
  • Beyond the enjoyment of; over and done with.
  • By; so as to pass and go beyond.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. earlier than the present time; no longer current
  • n. a verb tense that expresses actions or states in the past
  • n. a earlier period in someone's life (especially one that they have reason to keep secret)
  • n. the time that has elapsed
  • adj. of a person who has held and relinquished a position or office
  • adv. so as to pass a given point

Etymologies

Middle English, from past participle of passen, to pass; see pass.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, past participle of passen ("to pass, to go by"), whence Modern English pass. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • While past performance would definitely seem to favor the Steelers, wise investors know that “past performance is not a guarantee of results.

    Investment Lessons From The Steelers And Packers

  • I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all our people, both black and white, who, in the past year and before, made a contribution, however small, towards the new advances of our country further away from its painful past…

    Women Marching into the African Century

  • On the contrary, their impression would naturally be, that the past was, essentially different from the present, or why was it _past_?

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 382, October 1847

  • So we ride on, past phantom gates and falling homes, —past the once flourishing farms of the Smiths, the Gandys, and the Lagores, —and find all dilapidated and half ruined, even there where a solitary white woman, a relic of other days, sits alone in state among miles of Negroes and rides to town in her ancient coach each day.

    VII. Of the Black Belt.

  • Afternoon, twilight, dark; and still the tide rolled past him; _past him_ because like a stranded hull rotting for lack of use, he had put himself _outside_ the tide of human effort.

    Vikings of the Pacific The Adventures of the Explorers who Came from the West, Eastward

  • Jesus, 'that it makes a man remember his own sinfulness with penitence, not with pain -- that it makes the memory of past transgressions full of solemn joy, because the memory of _past_ transgressions but brings to mind the depth and rushing fullness of that river of love which has swept them all away as far as the east is from the west.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture St. Luke

  • She would then be able to view the past dispassionately, to recognize that what _was past_ was gone forever, and to see the folly of a grief which wasted the present and the future.

    His Sombre Rivals

  • \'Who controls the past, \ 'ran the Party slogan, \'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past\'. "

    OpEdNews - Quicklink: Welcome to Orwell's world by John Pilger

  • "God only knows what this summer is to see, and whether we are ever to meet again, or not," he then said, "but, come what may, the past, the _happy past_, is so much gained from the commonplace.

    Satanstoe

  • For him, the past is the past, which is the theme of one of the album's best songs, "It's Never Coming Back," with its beautiful hammered keyboard opening verse.

    Dwight Twilley's 'Green Blimp': Blissful, Emotive Pop

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Comments

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  • Since the past can be a snare that keeps one from moving on in life, it is curious that the Slovene word for "trap, snare" is, indeed, past.

    February 2, 2009

  • A man with a past = a person who had an interesting life history
    A woman with a past = a trollop

    (See my list)

    June 28, 2008