Meaning of PAST in English

I. ˈpast, ˈpaa(ə)st, ˈpaist, ˈpȧst adjective

Etymology: Middle English passed, past, from past participle of passen to pass


a. : gone by : ago

started working on this project ten years past

b. : just gone by or elapsed : immediately preceding

the oily swell of the past storm — Norman Douglas

had been sitting in the darkness for nearly an hour past — Lucien Price

the past election

the past few months

c. archaic : of the past month

your letter of the 30th past — Earl of Chesterfield

2. : belonging to a former time : having existed or taken place in a period before the present : bygone

in explanation and defense of his own past acts — W.C.Ford

lived in some past world, two or three hundred years ago — R.W.Emerson

3. : of, relating to, or constituting a verb tense that in English is usually formed by internal vowel change (as in sang ) or by the addition of a suffix (as in laughed ) and that is expressive of time gone by

4. : having served as a specified officer in a society, order, or organization

past president

past commander

past medical director

II. preposition

Etymology: Middle English passed, past, from past participle of passen


a. : beyond the age for or of

my father was just past his first vote — Ben Riker

past playing with dolls

b. : later than : after

it was now past sunset — Lucien Price

past the turn of the year — Atlantic

a quarter past two

c. : older than

is now past 60

is just past four


a. : at the farther side of : beyond

the entrance to the dining room is just past the elevators on your right — Hamilton Basso

b. : in a course going close to and then beyond

women pushed past arguing men to reach the counter — Stuart Cloete

the railroad runs past the house

c. : in a direction going close to and then beyond

standing by the monument and gazing down the grassy aisle past the heaps of crumpled chimney stones — Frederick Nebel

3. obsolete : more than

has not past three or four hairs on his chin — Shakespeare


a. : beyond the reach or influence of : out of the range, scope, or sphere of : incapable of

has declined past all help — Sat. Eve. Post

had a way with a horse that was past explaining — Gerald Beaumont

a dilemma past solution — Jean Stafford

b. : beyond the capacity or power of

wouldn't put it past him to play a trick like that

c. : beyond in degree or manner

has gone far past other writers in his experiments with language

- past oneself

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: past (I)


a. : former time : time gone by

men will turn to the past then, as we should now, chiefly to discover the ways of avoiding error — Harlow Shapley

b. : something that happened or was done in the past

promised to atone for the past


a. : the past tense of a language

b. : a verb form in the past tense


a. : a past life, history, or course of action

for ancient families with chequered pasts he had a romantic reverence — John Buchan

b. : a past life or career that is unknown or deliberately kept secret ; especially : a concealed episode or history of criminal or immoral behavior

his past caught up with him when an old prison friend recognized him

a woman with a past

IV. adverb

Etymology: past (II)

1. : so as to reach and go by a point near at hand : by

every moment or so, the trains clank past — Hollis Alpert

counted all eight porters coming past — D.L.Busk

2. Scot & Irish : aside , away

lay them past to rust — William Carleton

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.