Meaning of PAST in English

transcription, транскрипция: [ pɑ:st, pæst ]

( pasts)

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Note: In addition to the uses shown below, 'past' is used in the phrasal verb ‘run past’.


The past is the time before the present, and the things that have happened.

In the past, about a third of the babies born to women with diabetes were lost...

He should learn from the mistakes of the past. We have been here before...

≠ future, present

N-SING : the N

If you accuse someone of living in the past , you mean that they think too much about the past or believe that things are the same as they were in the past.

What was the point in living in the past, thinking about what had or had not happened?

PHRASE : V inflects [ disapproval ]


Your past consists of all the things that you have done or that have happened to you.

...revelations about his past.

...Germany’s recent past.

N-COUNT : usu sing , usu with supp


Past events and things happened or existed before the present time.

I knew from past experience that alternative therapies could help...

The list of past champions includes many British internationals.

= previous



You use past to talk about a period of time that has just finished. For example, if you talk about the past five years , you mean the period of five years that has just finished.

Most shops have remained closed for the past three days.

= last

≠ next

ADJ : det ADJ n


If a situation is past , it has ended and no longer exists. ( LITERARY )

Many economists believe the worst of the economic downturn is past.

...images from years long past...

= gone

ADJ : v-link ADJ


In grammar, the past tenses of a verb are the ones used to talk about things that happened at some time before the present. The simple past tense uses the past form of a verb, which for regular verbs ends in ‘-ed’, as in ‘They walked back to the car’.


see also past perfect


You use past when you are stating a time which is thirty minutes or less after a particular hour. For example, if it is twenty past six, it is twenty minutes after six o’clock.

It’s ten past eleven...

I arrived at half past ten.

≠ to

PREP : num PREP num

Past is also an adverb.

I have my lunch at half past.

≠ to

ADV : num ADV


If it is past a particular time, it is later than that time.

It was past midnight...

It’s past your bedtime.

= gone, after



If you go past someone or something, you go near them and keep moving, so that they are then behind you.

I dashed past him and out of the door...

A steady procession of people filed past the coffin...

= by


Past is also an adverb.

An ambulance drove past.

= by



If you look or point past a person or thing, you look or point at something behind them.

She stared past Christine at the bed.



If something is past a place, it is on the other side of it.

Go north on I-15 to the exit just past Barstow...

≠ before

PREP : v-link PREP n


If someone or something is past a particular point or stage, they are no longer at that point or stage.

He was well past retirement age...

PREP : usu v-link PREP n


If you are past doing something, you are no longer able to do it. For example, if you are past caring , you do not care about something any more because so many bad things have happened to you.

She was past caring about anything by then and just wanted the pain to end...

Often by the time they do accept the truth they are past being able to put words to feelings.

= beyond

PREP : v-link PREP -ing

If you say that someone or something is past it , they are no longer able to do what they used to do.

We could do with a new car. The one we’ve got is a bit past it.

PHRASE : v-link PHR [ disapproval ]


If you say that you would not put it past someone to do something bad, you mean that you would not be surprised if they did it because you think their character is bad.

You know what she’s like. I wouldn’t put it past her to call the police and say I stole them.

PHRASE : oft PHR to-inf

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.