• Pass


    • UK IPA: /pɑːs/, /pæs/
    • US IPA: /pæs/
    • Rhymes: -æs, -ɑːs

    Origin 1

    From Middle English pas, pase, pace, from passen ("to pass"). See the verb section, below.

    Full definition of pass



    (plural passes)
    1. An opening, road, or track, available for passing; especially, one through or over some dangerous or otherwise impracticable barrier such as a mountain range; a passageway; a defile; a ford.a mountain pass
    2. A single movement, especially of a hand, at, over, or along anything.
      • 1921, John Griffin, "Trailing the Grizzly in Oregon", in Forest and Stream, pages 389-391 and 421-424, republished by Jeanette Prodgers in 1997 in The Only Good Bear is a Dead Bear, page 35:bear made a pass at the dog, but he swung out and above him ...
    3. A single passage of a tool over something, or of something over a tool.
    4. An attempt.My pass at a career of writing proved unsuccessful.
    5. (fencing) A thrust or push; an attempt to stab or strike an adversary.
    6. (figuratively) A thrust; a sally of wit.
    7. A sexual advance.The man kicked his friend out of the house after he made a pass at his wife.
    8. (sports) The act of moving the ball or puck from one player to another.
    9. (rail transport) A passing of two trains in the same direction on a single track, when one is put into a siding to let the other overtake it.
    10. Permission or license to pass, or to go and come.
      • unknown date James Kent:A ship sailing under the flag and pass of an enemy.
    11. A document granting permission to pass or to go and come; a passport; a ticket permitting free transit or admission; as, a railroad or theater pass; a military pass.
    12. (baseball) An intentional walk.Smith was given a pass after Jones' double.
    13. The state of things; condition; predicament; impasse.
      • 1606 Shakespeare:What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
      • unknown date Robert South:Matters have been brought to this pass, that, if one among a man's sons had any blemish, he laid him aside for the ministry...
    14. (obsolete) Estimation; character.
      • unknown date Shakespeare:Common speech gives him a worthy pass.
    15. (obsolete, Chaucer, compare 'passus') A part, a division.
    16. The area in a restaurant kitchen where the finished dishes are passed from the chefs to the waiting staff.


    • (opening, road, or track, available for passing) gap
    • (fencing: thrust or push) thrust
    • (figurative: a thrust; a sally of wit)
    • (movement over or along anything)
    • (movement of a tool over something, or something other a tool) transit
    • (the state of things) condition, predicament, state
    • (permission or license to pass, or to go and come) access, admission, entry
    • (document granting permission to pass or to go and come)
    • (obsolete: estimation; character)
    • (obsolete: a part, a division)


    • (rail transport) meet

    Origin 2

    From Middle English passen, from Old French passer ("to step, walk, pass"), from Vulgar Latin *passāre ("step, walk, pass"), from Latin passus ("a step"), pandere ("to spread, unfold, stretch"), from Proto-Indo-European *patno-, from Proto-Indo-European *pete- ("to spread, stretch out"). Cognate with Old English fæþm ("armful, fathom"). More at fathom.


    1. Physical movement.
      1. (intransitive) To move or be moved from one place to another.
        They passed from room to room.
      2. (transitive) To go past, by, over, or through; to proceed from one side to the other of; to move past.
        You will pass a house on your right.
        • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 5, We expressed our readiness, and in ten minutes were in the station wagon, rolling rapidly down the long drive, for it was then after nine. We passed on the way the van of the guests from Asquith.
        • 1944, Miles Burton, The Three Corpse Trick Chapter 5, The dinghy was trailing astern at the end of its painter, and Merrion looked at it as he passed. He saw that it was a battered-looking affair of the prahm type, with a blunt snout, and like the parent ship, had recently been painted a vivid green.
      3. (transitive) To cause to move or go; to send; to transfer from one person, place, or condition to another; to transmit; to deliver; to hand; to make over.
        The waiter passed biscuits and cheese.
        The torch was passed from hand to hand.
      4. (intransitive, transitive, medicine) To eliminate (something) from the body by natural processes.
        He was passing blood in both his urine and his stool.
        The poison had been passed by the time of the autopsy.
      5. (transitive, nautical) To take a turn with (a line, gasket, etc.), as around a sail in furling, and make secure.
      6. (sport) To kick (the ball) with precision rather than at full force.
        1. (transitive, football) To kick (the ball) with precision rather than at full force.
          • The Guardian, Rob Smyth, 20 June 2010Iaquinta passes it coolly into the right-hand corner as Paston dives the other way.
        2. (transitive) To move (the ball or puck) to a teammate.
        3. (intransitive, fencing) To make a lunge or swipe.
        4. (intransitive) To go from one person to another.
        5. (transitive) To put in circulation; to give currency to.
          pass counterfeit money
        6. (transitive) To cause to obtain entrance, admission, or conveyance.
          pass a person into a theater or over a railroad
        7. To change in state or status, to advance.
          1. (intransitive) To change from one state to another.
            He passed from youth into old age.
          2. (intransitive) To depart, to cease, to come to an end.
            At first, she was worried, but that feeling soon passed.
            • unknown date John Dryden (1631-1700)Beauty is a charm, but soon the charm will pass.
            • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 23, The slightest effort made the patient cough. He would stand leaning on a stick and holding a hand to his side, and when the paroxysm had passed it left him shaking.
            • 1995, Penny Richards, The Greatest Gift of All:The crisis passed as she'd prayed it would, but it remained to be seen just how much damage had been done.
          3. (intransitive, often with "on" or "away") To die.
            His grandmother passed yesterday.
            His grandmother passed away yesterday.
            His grandmother passed on yesterday.
          4. (intransitive, transitive) To go successfully through (an examination, trail, test, etc).
            He passed his examination.
            He attempted the examination, but did not expect to pass.
          5. (intransitive, transitive) To advance through all the steps or stages necessary to become valid or effective; to obtain the formal sanction of (a legislative body).
            Despite the efforts of the opposition, the bill passed.
            The bill passed both houses of Congress.
            The bill passed the Senate, but did not pass in the House.
            • 2012-03, William E. Carter, Merri Sue Carter, The British Longitude Act Reconsidered, But was it responsible governance to pass the Longitude Act without other efforts to protect British seamen? Or might it have been subterfuge—a disingenuous attempt to shift attention away from the realities of their life at sea.
          6. (intransitive, legal) To be conveyed or transferred by will, deed, or other instrument of conveyance.
            The estate passes by the third clause in Mr Smith's deed to his son.
            When the old king passed away with only a daughter as an heir, the throne passed to a woman for the first time in centuries.
          7. (transitive) To cause to advance by stages of progress; to carry on with success through an ordeal, examination, or action; specifically, to give legal or official sanction to; to ratify; to enact; to approve as valid and just.
            He passed the bill through the committee.
          8. (intransitive, legal) To make a judgment on or upon a person or case.
            • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Book X:And within three dayes twelve knyghtes passed uppon hem; and they founde Sir Palomydes gylty, and Sir Saphir nat gylty, of the lordis deth.
          9. (transitive) To cause to pass the lips; to utter; to pronounce; to pledge.
        8. To move through time.
          1. (intransitive, of time) To elapse, to be spent.
            Their vacation passed pleasantly.
          2. (transitive, of time) To spend.
            What will we do to pass the time?
            • unknown date John Milton (1608-1674)To pass commodiously this life.
            • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 23, For, although Allan had passed his fiftieth year,..., one had continued to think of him as a man of whipcord and iron, a natural source of untiring energy, a mechanism that would not wear out.
          3. (transitive) To go by without noticing; to omit attention to; to take no note of; to disregard.
            • unknown date William Shakespeare (1564-1616)Please you that I may pass
              This doing.
            • unknown date John Dryden (1631-1700)I pass their warlike pomp, their proud array.
          4. (intransitive) To continue.
          5. (intransitive) To proceed without hindrance or opposition.
          6. (transitive) To live through; to have experience of; to undergo; to suffer.
          7. She loved me for the dangers I had passed.
          8. To go unheeded or neglected; to proceed without hindrance or opposition.
            You're late, but I'll let it pass.
          9. (intransitive) To happen.
            It will soon come to pass.
            • 1876, The Dilemma, Chapter LIII, republished in Littell's Living Age, series 5, volume 14, page 274:...for the memory of what passed while at that place is almost blank.
          10. To be accepted.
            1. (intransitive) To be tolerated as a substitute for something else, to "do".
              It isn't ideal, but it will pass.
              Some male-to-female transsexuals can pass as female.
            2. (sociology) To present oneself as, and therefore be accepted by society as, a member of a race, sex or other group to which society would not otherwise regard one as belonging; especially to live and be known as white although one has black ancestry, or to live and be known as female although one was born male (or vice versa).
          11. (intransitive) In any game, to decline to play in one's turn.
            1. (intransitive) In euchre, to decline to make the trump.
          12. To do or be better.
            1. (intransitive, obsolete) To go beyond bounds; to surpass; to be in excess.
            2. (transitive) To transcend; to surpass; to excel; to exceed.
              • unknown date Edmund Spenser (c.1552–1599)And strive to pass...Their native music by her skillful art.
              • unknown date George Gordon Byron (1788-1824)Whose tender power Passes the strength of storms in their most desolate hour.
          13. (intransitive, obsolete) To take heed.
          14. (intransitive) To come and go in consciousness.


    Origin 3

    Short for password.



    (plural passes)
    1. (computing, slang) A password (especially one for a restricted-access website).Anyone want to trade passes?


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