Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

past - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective past pronunciation in British English /pɑːst/
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [only before noun] happening or existing in the period of time that has just finished

    The patient’s condition has improved over the past 24 hours.

    He has spent the past two weeks travelling around the country.

    In the past year, nearly 15,000 jobs have been lost in Scotland.

    1. a.
      happening or existing at any earlier time

      I know from past experience that this work is very time-consuming.

      The report is highly critical of the Department’s past performance.

      He is a past president of the Union.

      The shaded areas on the map show the past and present extent of the forest.

  2. 2
    ended, or no longer existing

    Summer is past, and autumn is upon us.

    My running days are long past.


sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play