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past - definition and synonyms

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noun     past pronunciation in British English
  1. 1

    the past

    the time before the present, and everything that happened then

    Archaeology helps us to understand the past.

    He has made similar promises in the past.

    The business has grown steadily in the recent past.

    Anyway, it’s all in the past now (=something unpleasant is over and can be forgotten).

  2. 2
    [singular] the things that someone has done or the things that have happened to someone or something during the time before now

    My past as a player has undoubtedly helped me in my career as a coach.

    a legacy of our imperial past

    1. a.
      [singular] an earlier part of someone’s life that they keep secret because other people would not approve of it

      We discovered that the author had a murky past.

      Only his family and closest friends know about his past.

  3. 3

    the past

    linguistics the forms of a verb group indicating that an action or event happened regularly, or that a situation existed or was true during a period before now. For example ‘he worked’, and ‘she was working’ are both in the past.


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

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a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

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