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[pas, pahs] /pæs, pɑs/
verb (used with object)
to move past; go by:
to pass another car on the road.
to let go without notice, action, remark, etc.; leave unconsidered; disregard; overlook:
Pass chapter two and go on to chapter three.
to omit the usual or regular payment of:
The company decided to pass its dividend in the third quarter of the year.
to cause or allow to go through or beyond a gate, barrier, etc.:
The guard checked the identification papers and then passed the visitor.
to go across or over (a stream, threshold, etc.); cross.
to endure or undergo:
They passed the worst night of their lives.
to undergo or complete successfully:
to pass an examination.
to cause or permit to complete successfully (an investigation, examination, course of study, etc.):
I am passing the whole class this term.
to go beyond (a point, degree, stage, etc.); transcend; exceed; surpass.
to cause to go or extend farther:
to pass a rope through a hole.
to cause to go, move, or march by:
to pass troops in review.
to allot to oneself (a portion of time); spend:
He decided to pass a year abroad.
to live through, utilize, or fill; occupy oneself during:
How to pass the time?
to cause to circulate or spread; disseminate:
to pass rumors.
to cause to be accepted or received:
to pass a worthless check.
to convey, transfer, or transmit; deliver (often followed by on):
Pass this memo on after reading it.
to convey from one person, hand, etc., to another:
Please pass the salt.
to pledge:
to pass one's word of honor to remain loyal.
to utter, pronounce, or speak:
She passed a remark about every passerby.
to cause to go through something, as a process or agency:
to pass returning travelers through customs.
to discharge or void from the body, as excrement or a kidney stone.
to sanction or approve, especially by vote:
Congress passed the bill.
to obtain the approval or sanction of (a legislative body, committee, etc.), especially by a vote:
The bill passed Congress on the second vote.
to express or pronounce, as an opinion:
to pass judgment without knowing the facts.
Law. to place legal title or interest in (another) by a conveyance, a will, or other transfer.
(in feats of magic) to perform a pass on.
Tennis. to make a passing shot against (an opponent).
Sports. to transfer (the ball or puck) to a teammate.
Bullfighting. (of a bullfighter) to provoke and guide the charge of (a bull) with the capa or especially the muleta.
verb (used without object)
to go or move onward; proceed.
to come to or toward, then go beyond:
to pass by a shop; to pass through town.
to go away; depart:
The dizzy feeling will pass in a minute.
to elapse or slip by; be spent:
The day passed very quickly for him.
to come to an end:
The crisis soon passed.
to die.
to take place; happen; occur:
What passed while I was on vacation?
to go by or move past:
The funeral procession passed slowly.
to go about or circulate; be current.
to serve as a marginally acceptable substitute:
The facsimile isn't very good but it will pass.
to live or be known as a member of a racial, religious, or ethnic group other than one's own, especially to live and be known as a white person although of black ancestry.
to be transferred or conveyed:
The crown passed to the king's nephew.
to be interchanged, as between two persons:
Sharp words passed between them.
to undergo transition or conversion:
to pass from a solid to a liquid state.
to go or get through a barrier, test, course of study, etc., successfully:
Of the twenty who took the exam, only twelve passed.
to go unheeded, unchallenged, or unremarked on:
He decided to let the insult pass.
to express or pronounce an opinion, judgment, verdict, etc. (usually followed by on or upon):
Will you pass on the authenticity of this drawing?
to be voided, as excrement or a kidney stone.
to obtain the vote of approval or sanction of a legislative body, official committee, or the like:
The new tax bill finally passed.
  1. (of a member of an inquest or other deliberative body) to sit (usually followed by on or upon):
    to pass on a case of manslaughter.
  2. to adjudicate.
  3. to vest title or other legal interest in real or personal property in a new owner.
to throw a ball from one person to another, as in a game of catch.
Sports. to make a pass, as in football or ice hockey.
  1. to forgo one's opportunity to bid, play, etc.
  2. to throw in one's hand.
Fencing Obsolete. to thrust or lunge.
an act of passing.
a narrow route across a relatively low notch or depression in a mountain barrier.
a road, channel, or other way providing a means of passage, as through an obstructed region or other barrier.
a navigable channel, as at the mouth or in the delta of a river.
a permission or license to pass, go, come, or enter.
  1. a military document granting the right to cross lines or to enter or leave a military or naval base or building.
  2. written authority given a soldier to leave a station or duty for a specified period of time.
a free ticket or permit:
two passes to a concert; a railroad pass.
South African. reference book (def 2).
Chiefly British. the act of passing a university or school examination or course without honors or distinction.
Sports. the transfer of a ball or puck from one teammate to another.
Baseball. base on balls.
Fencing. a thrust or lunge.
a single movement, effort, maneuver, etc.:
He made a pass at the control tower of the enemy airfield.
  1. a gesture, action, or remark that is intended to be sexually inviting; amorous overture.
  2. a jab or poke with the arm, especially one that misses its mark.
Cards. the act or statement of not bidding or raising another bid:
There have been two passes and now it's your bid.
  1. a passing of the hand over, along, or before anything.
  2. the transference or changing of objects by or as by sleight of hand; a manipulation, as of a juggler.
a particular stage or state of affairs:
The economic situation had come to a dreadful pass.
Bullfighting. a pase.
one passage of a tool over work or one passage of work through a machine.
Archaic. a witty remark or thrust.
Mining. an opening for delivering coal or ore to a lower level underground.
Verb phrases
pass along/through, to add (incurred extra costs or expenses) to the amount charged a client or customer:
Airlines were passing along the sudden increase in fuel prices.
pass away,
  1. to cease; end:
    All this trouble will pass away.
  2. to die:
    He passed away during the night.
pass for/as, to be accepted as; be considered: material that passed for silk;
The candidate could pass as Latino or Anglo, appealing to both constituencies.
pass off,
  1. to present or offer (something) under false pretenses; dispose of deceptively:
    to pass off a spurious de Kooning on a gullible buyer.
  2. to cause to be accepted or received under a false identity:
    He passed himself off as a doctor.
  3. to cease gradually; end:
    The headache passed off in the late afternoon.
  4. to disregard or ignore.
  5. to continue to completion; occur:
    The meeting passed off without incident.
pass on, to die:
The patient passed on after a long illness.
pass over,
  1. to disregard; ignore:
    Just pass over the first part of his letter.
  2. to fail to take notice of, consider, or choose:
    He was passed over for the promotion.
pass up, to refuse or neglect to take advantage of; reject:
The opportunity may not come again, so don't pass it up.
bring to pass, to cause to happen; bring about:
His wife's death brought to pass a change in his attitude toward religion.
come to pass, to occur; happen:
Strange things came to pass.
pass muster. muster (def 11).
pass out, Informal.
  1. to lose consciousness; faint.
  2. to die; pass away.
  3. to distribute, especially individually by hand:
    to pass out discount coupons on a street corner.
  4. to walk or march out or through; leave or exit by means of:
    The graduates will pass out the center aisle after receiving their diplomas. Pass out this door and turn left.
  5. to be exempted or promoted from:
    Jerry passed out of freshman composition on the basis of his entering essay.
Origin of pass
1175-1225; (v.) Middle English passen < Old French passer < Vulgar Latin *passāre, derivative of Latin passus step, pace1; (noun) Middle English; in part < Middle French passe (noun derivative of passer), in part noun derivative of passen
Related forms
passless, adjective
outpass, verb (used with object)
subpass, noun
2. ignore. 9. excel. 22. enact. 32. leave. 34. expire, cease, terminate, vanish, fade, disappear. 76b. See die1 . 55. saddle, col. 70. juncture, situation, condition. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pass upon
Historical Examples
  • May God look down and judge the things which pass upon this earth, and are done by those who take His name freely upon their lips!

    For the Faith Evelyn Everett-Green
  • She paused a moment, then: "But I am not quite ready to pass upon it yet."

  • How know that I who stand between them and their greed should pass upon their way, come across their path?

    In the Day of Adversity John Bloundelle-Burton
  • The ascent of the pass upon the Spanish side is but trifling.

    Northern Spain Edgar T. A. Wigram
  • There came from the higher regions a pass upon a steamer to Florida; and so Thyrsis sailed away.

    Love's Pilgrimage Upton Sinclair
  • You must pass upon their guilt, and you must do it honestly.

  • It devolved upon us to hold a council and pass upon the prisoners.

    The Awakening of the Desert Julius C. Birge
  • It is the nature of the valuable, of the desirable, that the individual has to pass upon.

    Ethics John Dewey and James Hayden Tufts
  • Might they pass upon law points alone; or were they to be empowered to review the entire order of the Commission?

  • I hand the message on but must refuse to pass upon its sincerity.

    The A.E.F. Heywood Broun
British Dictionary definitions for pass upon


to go onwards or move by or past (a person, thing, etc)
to run, extend, or lead through, over, or across (a place): the route passes through the city
to go through or cause to go through (an obstacle or barrier): to pass a needle through cloth
to move or cause to move onwards or over: he passed his hand over her face
(transitive) to go beyond or exceed: this victory passes all expectation
to gain or cause to gain an adequate or required mark, grade, or rating in (an examination, course, etc): the examiner passed them all
often foll by away or by. to elapse or allow to elapse: we passed the time talking
pass the time of day with someone, to spend time amicably with someone, esp in chatting, with no particular purpose
(intransitive) to take place or happen: what passed at the meeting?
to speak or exchange or be spoken or exchanged: angry words passed between them
to spread or cause to spread: we passed the news round the class
to transfer or exchange or be transferred or exchanged: the bomb passed from hand to hand
(intransitive) to undergo change or transition: to pass from joy to despair
when tr, often foll by down. to transfer or be transferred by inheritance: the house passed to the younger son
to agree to or sanction or to be agreed to or receive the sanction of a legislative body, person of authority, etc: the assembly passed 10 resolutions
(transitive) (of a legislative measure) to undergo (a procedural stage) and be agreed: the bill passed the committee stage
when tr, often foll by on or upon. to pronounce or deliver (judgment, findings, etc): the court passed sentence
to go or allow to go without comment or censure: the intended insult passed unnoticed
(intransitive) to opt not to exercise a right, as by not answering a question or not making a bid or a play in card games
(physiol) to discharge (urine, faeces, etc) from the body
pass water, to urinate
(intransitive) to come to an end or disappear: his anger soon passed
(intransitive; usually foll by for or as) to be likely to be mistaken for or accepted as (someone or something else): you could easily pass for your sister
(intransitive; foll by away, on, or over) a euphemism for die1 (sense 1)
(transitive) (mainly US) to fail to declare (a dividend)
(intransitive; usually foll by on or upon) (mainly US) (of a court, jury, etc) to sit in judgment; adjudicate
(sport) to hit, kick, or throw (the ball) to another player
(archaic) bring to pass, to cause to happen
come to pass, to happen
the act of passing
  1. a route through a range of mountains where the summit is lower or where there is a gap between peaks
  2. (capital as part of a name): the Simplon Pass
a way through any difficult region
a permit, licence, or authorization to do something without restriction: she has a pass to visit the museum on Sundays
  1. a document allowing entry to and exit from a military installation
  2. a document authorizing leave of absence
  1. the passing of a college or university examination to a satisfactory standard but not as high as honours
  2. (as modifier): a pass degree Compare honours (sense 2)
a dive, sweep, or bombing or landing run by an aircraft
a motion of the hand or of a wand as a prelude to or part of a conjuring trick
(informal) an attempt, in words or action, to invite sexual intimacy (esp in the phrase make a pass at)
a state of affairs or condition, esp a bad or difficult one (esp in the phrase a pretty pass)
(sport) the transfer of a ball from one player to another
(fencing) a thrust or lunge with a sword
(bridge) the act of passing (making no bid)
(bullfighting) a variant of pase
(archaic) a witty sally or remark
(bridge) a call indicating that a player has no bid to make
Word Origin
C13: from Old French passer to pass, surpass, from Latin passūs step, pace1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pass upon



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pass upon in Medicine

pass (pās)
v. passed, pass·ing, pass·es

  1. To go across; go through.

  2. To cause to move into a certain position.

  3. To cease to exist; die.

  4. To be voided from the body.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for pass upon


noun phrase

Asexualadvance; proposition (1928+)


  1. To be thought to be something one is not, esp to be thought white when one is actually black: the oldest daughter, so fair she could pass (1940s+)
  2. o suffice or be adequate, only just barely: It's not great pasta, but it'll pass (1565+)
  3. To decline to do something, take something, etc: I'll pass on the French fries, but take the onions (1869+)

Related Terms

make a pass at someone

[in the first verb sense, pass oneself off as is found by 1809]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with pass upon
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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