Meaning of PASS in English


I. pass 1 S1 W1 /pɑːs $ pæs/ BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ pass , ↑ overpass ≠ ↑ underpass , ↑ passage , ↑ passing ; adjective : ↑ passing , ↑ passable ≠ ↑ impassable ; verb : ↑ pass ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: passer , from Vulgar Latin passare , from Latin passus 'step' ]

1 . GO PAST [intransitive and transitive] to come up to a particular place, person, or object and go past them:

The crowd parted to let the truck pass.

He gave me a smile as he passed.

We passed a group of students outside the theatre.

I pass the sports centre on the way to work.

2 . MOVE/GO [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to go or travel along or through a place:

He passed along the corridor to a small room at the back of the building.

We passed through the gates into a courtyard behind.

We were just passing through (=travelling through a place) and thought we’d drop in to see you.

3 . PUT [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to put something around, through, or across something else:

He passed the rope carefully around the post.

4 . ROAD/RIVER ETC [intransitive always + adverb/preposition, transitive] a road, river, or railway line that passes a place goes through or near the place:

The road passes right through the town centre.

The main railway line passes just north of Manchester.

5 . GIVE [transitive] to hold something in your hand and give it to someone else:

Pass the salt, please.

pass somebody something

Can you pass me that bag by your feet?

pass something to somebody

She passed a cup of tea to the headmaster.

I passed the note back to her.

⇨ pass around

6 . GIVE INFORMATION [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to give information or a job to another person so that they can deal with it

pass something (on/over/back) to somebody

I’ll pass the information on to our sales department.

They’ve passed the enquiry over to the police.

7 . TIME

a) [intransitive] if time passes, it goes by:

The days passed slowly.

She became more ambitious as the years passed.

They sat in silence while the minutes passed.

Hardly a day passes without more bad news about the economy (=there is bad news almost every day) .

b) [transitive] if you pass time or pass your life in a particular way, you spend it in that way:

We passed the winter pleasantly enough.

We played cards to pass the time (=to help us stop feeling bored) .


In everyday English, people usually say that they spend time doing something rather than pass time:

I spent the whole day watching TV.


a) [intransitive and transitive] to succeed in an examination or test OPP fail :

Did you pass all your exams?

He hasn’t passed his driving test yet.

She passed with flying colours (=got very high marks) .

b) [transitive] to officially decide that someone has succeeded in an examination or test OPP fail :

The examiners will only pass you if they feel that you have done the work properly.


a) [transitive] to officially accept a law or proposal, especially by voting:

Plans to extend the hotel have now been passed.

The motion was passed by 16 votes to 11.

pass a law/bill/act

The first Transport Act was passed in 1907.

The government has passed new legislation to protect consumers.

The United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution asking the two countries to resume peace negotiations.

b) [intransitive and transitive] especially American English if a law or proposal passes an official group, it is officially accepted by that group:

The bill failed to pass the House of Representatives.

10 . HAPPEN [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] written if something passes between people, they speak to each other or do something together

pass between

A glance of recognition passed between them.

Please say nothing of what has passed here today.

11 . SAY pass a remark/comment to say something that gives your opinion:

I’m afraid I can’t pass any comment on this matter.

He passed some remark about doctors being paid too much.

12 . let something pass to deliberately not say anything when someone says or does something that you do not like:

Carla made some comment about my work but I decided to let it pass.

13 . END [intransitive] to end or stop:

After a couple of hours the storm passed.

The feeling of sickness soon passed.

14 . SPORT [intransitive and transitive] to kick, throw, or hit a ball to a member of your own team during a game

pass to

He passed to Beckham on the edge of the penalty area.

pass something to somebody

Are you allowed to pass the ball back to the goalkeeper?

15 . MORE THAN [transitive] to become more than a particular number or amount:

The number of unemployed has passed the two million mark for the first time.

16 . pass unnoticed to happen without anyone noticing or saying anything:

His resignation passed largely unnoticed.

17 . pass the time of day (with somebody) to talk to someone for a short time in order to be friendly

18 . CHANGE CONTROL [intransitive always + preposition] formal to change from being controlled or owned by one person to being controlled or owned by someone else

pass to

The land will pass to my son when I die.

Control of these services has now passed into the hands of the local authorities.

19 . CHANGE [intransitive always + preposition] formal to change from one state or condition into another

pass from/to

The chemical passes from a liquid to a solid state during the cooling process.

20 . pass (a) sentence (on somebody) to officially decide how a criminal will be punished, and to announce what the punishment will be:

Judges no longer have the power to pass the death sentence.

21 . pass judgment (on somebody) to give your opinion about someone’s behaviour:

I don’t want to pass judgment on my colleagues.

22 . GIVE NO ANSWER [intransitive] to give no answer to a question because you do not know the answer:

‘Who won the World Cup in 1998?’ ‘Pass.’

23 . NOT ACCEPT [intransitive] to not accept an invitation or offer

pass on

I’m afraid I’ll have to pass on that offer of coffee.

24 . not pass sb’s lips humorous

a) used to say that someone does not talk about something that is secret:

Don’t worry. Not a word of this will pass my lips.

b) used to say that someone does not eat or drink a particular thing:

Not a drop of liquor has passed my lips.

25 . WASTE MATTER [transitive] medical to let out a waste substance from your ↑ bladder or ↑ bowel s :

See your doctor immediately if you pass any blood.

He was having difficulty passing water (=letting out ↑ urine ) .

26 . come to pass literary biblical to happen

⇨ pass muster at ↑ muster 2 (1), ⇨ pass the buck at ↑ buck 1 (3)

pass something ↔ around ( also pass something ↔ round British English ) phrasal verb

to offer or show something to each person in a group:

Pass the cookies around, would you?

⇨ pass the hat round/around at ↑ hat (6)

pass as somebody/something phrasal verb

if someone or something can pass as someone or something, they are similar enough to be accepted as that type of person or thing:

His French is so good that he can pass as a Frenchman.

pass away phrasal verb

to die – use this when you want to avoid saying the word ‘die’

pass by phrasal verb

1 . pass by (somebody/something) to go past a person, place, vehicle etc:

They all waved as they passed by.

Will you be passing by the supermarket on your way home?

⇨ ↑ passerby

2 . pass somebody by if something passes you by, it happens but you are not involved in it:

She felt that life was passing her by.

pass something ↔ down phrasal verb [usually passive]

to give or teach something to people who are younger than you or live after you

pass something down (from somebody) to somebody

The tradition has been passed down from father to son for generations.

pass for somebody/something phrasal verb

if something passes for another thing, it is so similar to that thing that people think that is what it is:

With my hair cut short, I could have passed for a boy.

pass off phrasal verb

1 . pass off well/badly etc if an event passes off well, badly etc, it happens in that way:

The visit passed off without any serious incidents.

2 . pass somebody/something off as something to make people think that someone or something is another thing:

They bought up pieces of old furniture and passed them off as valuable antiques.

He passed himself off as a doctor.

pass on phrasal verb

1 . pass something ↔ on to give someone a piece of information that someone else has given to you

pass something ↔ on to

She said she’d pass the message on to the other students.

2 . pass something ↔ on

a) to give something, especially a disease, to your children through your ↑ gene s

b) to give a slight illness to someone else

pass something ↔ on to

One catches the virus and they pass it on to the rest.

3 . pass something ↔ on to make someone else pay the cost of something

pass something ↔ on to

Any increase in our costs will have to be passed on to the consumer.

4 . to die – use this when you want to avoid saying the word ‘die’

pass out phrasal verb

1 . to become unconscious:

I nearly passed out when I saw all the blood.

2 . especially British English to finish a course of study at a military school or police college

3 . pass something ↔ out to give something, such as books or papers, to everyone in a group SYN hand out, distribute

pass over phrasal verb

1 . pass somebody ↔ over [usually in passive] if you pass someone over for a job, you choose someone else who is younger or lower in the organization than them:

This is the second time I’ve been passed over for promotion (=someone else has been given a higher job instead of me) .

2 . pass over something if you pass over a remark or subject, you do not spend any time discussing it:

I want to pass over this quite quickly.

I think we’d better pass over that last remark.

pass something ↔ up phrasal verb

to not make use of a chance to do something

pass up a chance/opportunity/offer

I don’t think you should pass up the opportunity to go to university.

II. pass 2 S2 W3 BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ pass , ↑ overpass ≠ ↑ underpass , ↑ passage , ↑ passing ; adjective : ↑ passing , ↑ passable ≠ ↑ impassable ; verb : ↑ pass ]

[ Sense 1-4, 6-8: Date: 1400-1500 ; Origin: ⇨ ↑ pass 1 ]

[ Sense 5: Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: pas , from Latin passus ; ⇨ ↑ pass 1 ]

1 . DOCUMENT an official piece of paper which shows that you are allowed to enter a building or travel on something without paying:

The guard checked our passes.

They issued us with free passes to the theatre.

You can buy a cheap one-day bus pass.

2 . EXAM/TEST a successful result in an examination OPP fail :

You will need at least three passes to get onto the course.

pass in

Did you get a pass in English?

The pass mark (=the mark you need to be successful) is 55%.

3 . SPORT when you kick, throw, or hit a ball to another member of your team during a game:

That was a brilliant pass by Holden.

4 . make a pass at somebody informal to try to kiss or touch another person with the intention of starting a sexual relationship with them

5 . ROAD/PATH a high road or path that goes between mountains to the other side:

a narrow, winding mountain pass

6 . STAGE one part of a process that involves dealing with the whole of a group or thing several times:

On the first pass we eliminated all the candidates who didn’t have the right experience.

7 . AIRCRAFT a movement in which an aircraft flies once over a place which it is attacking

8 . come to a pretty/sorry pass old-fashioned informal if things have come to a pretty or sorry pass, a situation has become very bad

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.