[past, pahst]
gone by or elapsed in time: It was a bad time, but it's all past now.
of, having existed in, or having occurred during a time previous to the present; bygone: the past glories of the Incas.
gone by just before the present time; just passed: during the past year.
ago: six days past.
having formerly been or served as; previous; earlier: three past presidents of the club.
Grammar. designating a tense, or other verb formation or construction, that refers to events or states in time gone by.
the time gone by: He could remember events far back in the past.
the history of a person, nation, etc.: our country's glorious past.
what has existed or has happened at some earlier time: Try to forget the past, now that your troubles are over.
the events, phenomena, conditions, etc., that characterized an earlier historical period: That hat is something out of the past.
an earlier period of a person's life, career, etc., that is thought to be of a shameful or embarrassing nature: When he left prison, he put his past behind him.
the past tense, as he ate, he smoked.
another verb formation or construction with past meaning.
a form in the past tense.
so as to pass by or beyond; by: The troops marched past.
beyond in time; later than; after: past noon; half past six.
beyond in space or position; farther on than: the house just past the church.
in a direction so as to pass by or go beyond: We went past the house by mistake.
beyond in amount, number, etc.: past the maximum age for enlisting in the army.
beyond the reach, scope, influence, or power of: He is past hope of recovery.

1250–1300; Middle English; variant spelling of passed, past participle of pass

passed, past, paste. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
past (pɑːst)
1.  completed, finished, and no longer in existence: past happiness
2.  denoting or belonging to all or a segment of the time that has elapsed at the present moment: the past history of the world
3.  denoting a specific unit of time that immediately precedes the present one: the past month
4.  (prenominal) denoting a person who has held and relinquished an office or position; former: a past president
5.  grammar aorist imperfect Compare perfect denoting any of various tenses of verbs that are used in describing actions, events, or states that have been begun or completed at the time of utterance
6.  the past the period of time or a segment of it that has elapsed: forget the past
7.  the history, experience, or background of a nation, person, etc: a soldier with a distinguished past
8.  an earlier period of someone's life, esp one that contains events kept secret or regarded as disreputable
9.  grammar
 a.  a past tense
 b.  a verb in a past tense
10.  at a specified or unspecified time before the present; ago: three years past
11.  on or onwards: I greeted him but he just walked past
12.  beyond in time: it's past midnight
13.  beyond in place or position: the library is past the church
14.  moving beyond; in a direction that passes: he walked past me
15.  beyond or above the reach, limit, or scope of: his foolishness is past comprehension
16.  beyond or above in number or amount: to count past ten
17.  informal past it unable to perform the tasks one could do when one was younger
18.  not put it past someone to consider someone capable of (the action specified)
usage  The past participle of pass is sometimes wrongly spelt past: the time for recriminations has passed (not past)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "done with, over," from pp. of passen "go by" (see pass (v.)). The noun meaning "times gone by" is first attested 1590, from the adj.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with past, also see live in (the past); not put something past someone.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Students compare and contrast causes for extinction, past and present.
Between them, they have done so at least four times in the past two million
For Auburn, perfection in past seasons has come with a price.
International university rankings have become a major force in higher education
  over the past decade.
Related Words
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