Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Being a beast facing and walking toward the viewer's left with one front leg raised.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In numismatics, a figure on a coin in a walking position from right to left or from left to right.
  • Walking; walking leisurely: in heraldry, said of a beast used as a bearing. The beast is always understood to hold the head straight and to look forward. See cut under counterchanged.
  • Current.
  • Passing; transitory.
  • Cursory; careless; without deliberation or reflection.
  • Surpassing; excelling.
  • noun One who passes or passes through or over.
  • noun An open hem furnishing a sort of tube, through which a cord or ribbon can be passed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Passing from one to another; in circulation; current.
  • adjective obsolete Curs�ry, careless.
  • adjective obsolete Surpassing; excelling.
  • adjective (Her.) Walking; -- said of any animal on an escutcheon, which is represented as walking with the dexter paw raised.

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

  • adjective in walking position with right foreleg raised

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, present participle of passer, to pass; see pass.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman passant, Middle French passant.

Examples

  • _Combatant_: when back to back, they are _Addorsed_: when passant or salient in contrary directions, they are _Counter passant_ or _Counter salient_.

    The Handbook to English Heraldry

  • The man who wore it had his heraldic device embroidered in vivid colours on his breast—a chevron and a stag passant, the scutcheon supported by a branch of olive dexter and a stag’s horn sinister.

    V. The Closet Where Monsieur Louis of France Recites His Orisons. Book X

  • (Let me just note, en passant, that I don't believe for a moment that Farber "interpreted" Zerb's comment in any such manner.)

    Archive 2009-07-01

  • These are frequently middle-aged couples who roam the floor together, towing a bulky roller suitcase that kneecaps, en passant, those attendees who don't remember to watch out in the crowded thoroughfares.

    Peter Ginna: An Insider's Guide to the Characters of BookExpo America

  • Just when a decisive voice is called for, there's Michael Ignatieff bleating almost en passant about the Harper cut-and-run exercise, and then proffering loads of hype about a Liberal "thinkers 'conference" in March (which may conflict with a Spring election call, leaving all those thoughts unthought).

    Opposition: time to recalibrate

  • Just when a decisive voice is called for, there's Michael Ignatieff bleating almost en passant about the Harper cut-and-run exercise, and then proffering loads of hype about a Liberal "thinkers 'conference" in March (which may conflict with a Spring election call, leaving all those thoughts unthought).

    Archive 2010-01-01

  • (Bonus points to Joel for swiping en passant at airport book titan Thomas Friedman and his cartographic ironing board.)

    Anil Dash

  • These are frequently middle-aged couples who roam the floor together, towing a bulky roller suitcase that kneecaps, en passant, those attendees who don't remember to watch out in the crowded thoroughfares.

    Peter Ginna: An Insider's Guide to the Characters of BookExpo America

  • It was never offered as a legal rebuttal to the NJ decision; it was an en passant summary (and a pretty accurate one at that) and nothing more.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Some Strange Consequences of Public Accommodations Laws

  • He mentions, en passant, that one of their friends turned up to the party wearing a tunic dress.

    Gay Dad

Comments

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  • In heraldry: Of a four-legged animal: walking (usually towards the dexter or right) and looking ahead, with three paws on the ground and the dexter forepaw raised.

    February 5, 2007