make a pass at

Idioms & Phrases

make a pass at

  1. Flirt or make advances to someone, especially of a sexual nature, as in "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses" (Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep As A Well, 1936). [1920s]

  2. Also, take a pass at. Make an attempt, as in I've made a pass at opening it but had no luck, or Jake, will you take a pass at changing the oil? This usage employs pass in the sense of a "jab" or "poke." [Colloquial; 1900s] Also see make a stab at.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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