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.

Thesaurus diagram

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.

adverb, preposition     past pronunciation in American English
Past can be used in the following ways:
as a preposition (followed by a noun): It’s past your bedtime.I walked past the post office.
as an adverb (without a following noun): A policeman walked past.Months went past and nothing happened.
  1. 1
    going near someone or something while you are on your way to another place

    I walked past several hotels on my way to the gas station.

    The river winds its way past the picturesque village of Comrie.

    The thieves somehow got past all the alarms.

    She heard music coming from inside the van as it drove past.

  2. 2
    after a particular time
    1. a.
      used for saying what time it is when it is not more than thirty minutes after one, two, etc. o’clock

      It’s a quarter past three.

      I’ll meet you at half past five.

      It’s exactly ten past three.

    2. b.
      later than a particular time

      It was past midnight by the time we arrived.

  3. 3
    farther than a particular place along a road, path, river, etc.

    Turn right a mile past the graveyard and you’ll see the church.

    just past:

    You’ll find the town about 80 miles south of Missoula, just past Darby.

  4. 4
    looking toward a place behind someone or something instead of directly at them
    right past:

    I tried to catch his eye, but he stared right past me.

    straight past:

    Tom seemed to be looking straight past me at the wall.

  5. 5
    used for saying that someone or something has passed a particular stage or point

    He was past his prime as a player by then.

    Unlike my sisters, I never got past the sixth grade at school.

  6. 6
    used for saying that a period of time passes

    The months went past, and still no word from her.

    The days seem to be just whizzing past.

  7. 7
    used for saying that your attitudes or feelings have changed in such a way that you no longer think about something

    I used to worry about him coming home late, but now I’m past caring.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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