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

  • adjective Moving by; going past.
  • adjective Of brief duration; transitory.
  • adjective Cursory or superficial; casual.
  • adjective Allowing one to pass a test, course of study, inspection, or examination; satisfactory.
  • adjective Archaic Extreme or great; surpassing.
  • adverb Very; surpassingly.
  • noun The act of one that passes or the fact of having passed.
  • noun A place where or a means by which one can pass.
  • noun Death.
  • idiom (in passing) While going by; incidentally.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Exceeding; beyond; over.
  • Surpassingly; wonderfully: exceedingly; very.
  • That is or are now happening; current: as, passing events; the passing hour.
  • Cursory; such as is done, given, etc., while one passes: as, a passing glance.
  • Fleeting; fading away.
  • Exceeding; surpassing; transcendent; egregious; eminent; extraordinary.
  • noun The act of moving on or by; also, the act of departing; dying.
  • noun Passage; ratification; enactment.
  • noun A gold or silver thread or fine cord produced by twisting a flat and very small ribbon of the metal spirally around a silk thread. Passing is used in embroidery, in couched work, and the like, laid on the foundation and sewed to it with fine silk thread.

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

  • noun The act of one who, or that which, passes; the act of going by or away.
  • noun a tolling of a bell to announce that a soul is passing, or has passed, from its body (formerly done to invoke prayers for the dying); also, a tolling during the passing of a funeral procession to the grave, or during funeral ceremonies.
  • adverb Exceedingly; excessively; surpassingly
  • adjective Relating to the act of passing or going; going by, beyond, through, or away; departing.
  • adjective Exceeding; surpassing, eminent.
  • adjective (Mus.) a character including a passing tone.
  • adjective (Mus.) a tone introduced between two other tones, on an unaccented portion of a measure, for the sake of smoother melody, but forming no essential part of the harmony.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb Present participle of pass.
  • noun A form of juggling where several people pass props between each other, usually clubs or rings.

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

  • adjective hasty and without attention to detail; not thorough
  • noun success in satisfying a test or requirement
  • adjective of advancing the ball by throwing it
  • noun the end of something
  • noun the motion of one object relative to another
  • noun a bodily reaction of changing from one place or stage to another
  • adjective allowing you to pass (e.g., an examination or inspection) satisfactorily
  • adjective lasting a very short time
  • noun (American football) a play that involves one player throwing the ball to a teammate
  • adverb to an extreme degree
  • noun euphemistic expressions for death
  • noun going by something that is moving in order to get in front of it


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From pass +‎ -ing.


  • And now one had touched him so completely that a mere glance over her shoulder without a word passing between them had made him follow her.

    Surrender the Dark

  • Mentioned in passing is the kids 'multi-racial background: Dad is black, mom was white.

    'Pyramid': It's another towering Riordan tale of mythology

  • And yes, accusing someone of "intergalactic war-mongering" even in passing is one and only one thing:

    First Look: G.I. Joe's Scarlett Revealed! «

  • But like David Lynch and Jack Kerouac, Callahan, whom I only know in passing, is grossly misunderstood by his fans.

    GreenCine Daily: PIFF Dispatch. 4.

  • Some guy on the radio said so, obviously all of my problems are cured and all of that social pressure he mentioned in passing is miraculously lifted!

    ATTENTION LADIES!! « Love | Peace | Ohana

  • To Polly, what he reveals in passing is a world where drunken riot was frequent, and sensibility about what crime is serious was very different.

    "a golden age of law and order"

  • I only knew Bill in passing from the pre-Outpost days when he held court at noon on Fridays at the Elks. He was a natural leader as well as a civic leader and a take charge kind of guy.


  • Ensign Rusconi had relieved Wong without a word passing between them, and the young woman now held the da Vinci steady as it hurtled back through Federation space at warp 9.6.

    Creative Couplings

  • Without a word passing among them, Ivan then took a position at the head, Udele the torso and Jen the legs.

    Body of Knowledge

  • Yet we had no choice but to continue, and without a word passing between us we began to walk, myself in front with one of the rifles, then Sebastian, followed by the three Kuna.

    The Serpent and the Rainbow


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  • Probably true. I was actually unsure. Note that my examples can be construed either way.

    August 21, 2008

  • It's passing strange, but I do like the phrase "passing strange." :-)

    August 21, 2008

  • Really? Good to know. Apparently, it had the opposite meaning in the past (no. 5).

    August 21, 2008

  • Useful as a modifier of intensity: "passing strange that the moon should be purple to-night!" "That's passing early for Joe to be awake."

    August 21, 2008

  • surpassingly

    August 2, 2007