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late 13c. (transitive) "to go by (something)," also "to cross over," from Old French passer (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *passare "to step, walk, pass" (cf. Spanish pasar, Italian passare), from Latin passus "step, pace" (see pace (n.)). Intransitive sense of "to go on, to move forward, make one's way" is attested from c.1300. Figurative sense of "to experience, undergo" (as in pass the time) is first recorded late 14c. Sense of "to go through an examination successfully" is from early 15c. Meaning "decline to do something" is attested from 1869, originally in cards (euchre). In football, hockey, soccer, etc., the meaning "to transfer the ball or puck to another player" is from c.1865. Related: Passed; passing.
The meaning "to be thought to be something one is not" (especially in racial sense) is from 1935, from pass oneself off (as), first found 1809. The general verb sense of "to be accepted as equivalent" is from 1590s. Pass up "decline, refuse" is attested from 1896. Pass the buck is from 1865, said to be poker slang reference to the buck horn-handled knife that was passed around to signify whose turn it was to deal. Pass the hat "seek contributions" is from 1762. Pass-fail as a grading method is attested from 1955, American English.
"mountain defile," c.1300, from Old French pas "step, track, passage," from Latin passus "step, pace" (see pace (n.)).
"written permission to pass into, or through, a place," 1590s, from pass (v.). Sense of "ticket for a free ride or admission" is first found 1838. Colloquial make a pass "offer an amorous advance" first recorded 1928, perhaps from a sporting sense. Phrase come to pass (late 15c.) uses the word with a sense of "completion, accomplishment."
Old English cuman "come, approach, land; come to oneself, recover; arrive; assemble" (class IV strong verb; past tense cuom, com, past participle cumen), from Proto-Germanic *kwem- (cf. Old Saxon cuman, Old Frisian kuma, Middle Dutch comen, Dutch komen, Old High German queman, German kommen, Old Norse koma, Gothic qiman), from PIE root *gwa-, *gwem- "to go, come" (cf. Sanskrit gamati "he goes," Avestan jamaiti "goes," Tocharian kakmu "come," Lithuanian gemu "to be born," Greek bainein "to go, walk, step," Latin venire "to come").
The substitution of Middle English -o- for Old English -u- before -m-, -n-, or -r- was a scribal habit before minims to avoid misreading the letters in the old style handwriting, which jammed letters. The practice similarly transformed some, monk, tongue, worm. Modern past tense form came is Middle English, probably from Old Norse kvam, replacing Old English cuom.
Remarkably productive with prepositions (NTC's "Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs" lists 198 combinations); consider the varied senses in come to "regain consciousness," come over "possess" (as an emotion), come at "attack," come on (interj.) "be serious," and come off "occur." For sexual senses, see cum.
v. passed, pass·ing, pass·es
To go across; go through.
To cause to move into a certain position.
To cease to exist; die.
To be voided from the body.
(also cum) Semen, or any fluid secreted at orgasm (1920s+)verb
To have an orgasm; ejaculate semen (1650+)Related Terms
Asexualadvance; proposition (1928+)verb
[in the first verb sense, pass oneself off as is found by 1809]