Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “pass”


verb uk   /pɑːs/ us    /pæs/

pass verb (GO PAST)

B1 [I or T] to go past something or someone or move in relation to it, him, or her: I passed him on the stairs this morning. You should only pass a slower vehicle if it is safe to do so. If you pass a supermarket, could you get me some milk? I was just passing by (= going past the place where you are), so I thought I'd drop in for a chat. A momentary look of anxiety passed across his face. A cloud passed over the sun.General words for movement [T] to go past a particular point in time: Don't buy goods that have passed their sell-by date.Spending time and time passing C2 [T] to go past something by being greater in amount or degree: The company's turnover is expected to pass the $10 million mark by the end of this year. C2 [I] If you say a state or feeling will pass, you mean it will disappear: Don't worry, his depression is only temporary - it'll soon pass.Appearing and disappearing

pass verb (SUCCEED)

A2 [I or T] to be successful in an exam, course, etc.: Guess what? I've passed my driving test! The exam is so hard that only five percent of all applicants pass.Exams, tests and exercises

pass verb (GIVE)

B1 [T] to give something to someone: Could you pass the salt please? I asked if I could see the letter, so she passed it to me reluctantly. [+ two objects] Gerald passed me the note./Gerald passed the note to me. Genes are the means by which parents' characteristics are passed on to their children.Giving, providing and supplying C2 [I or T] In sports, if you pass the ball, you kick, throw, or hit it to someone in your team.General terms used in ball sports [T] If you pass money, you give someone false or stolen money without telling them: [+ two objects] I haven't trusted him since he passed me a forged £5 note. She was arrested for passing stolen cheques.Trafficking and racketeering

pass verb (TIME)

B1 [I] When time passes, it goes past: Time seems to pass (by) so slowly when you're bored. I was a little worried about the party, but the evening passed without any great disasters.Spending time and time passing B2 [T] If you pass a period of time, you do something to stop yourself being bored during that period: The visitors pass their days swimming, windsurfing, and playing volleyball.Spending time and time passing

pass verb (APPROVE)

B2 [T] (of an official group of people) to give approval to something, especially by voting to make it law: The government passed a law to restrict the sale of guns.UK The restaurant was serving meat that had not been passed as fit for human consumption.Legislation and law-makingElections

pass verb (JUDGE)

pass judgment, comment, etc. to express a judgment or opinion about something, especially someone else's behaviour: As a convicted criminal, he's in no position to pass judgment (on the rest of us).Expressing and asking opinionsRemarks and remarkingControlling emotions pass sentence to say officially, as a judge, what a criminal's official punishment will beCourt cases, orders and decisions

pass verb (EXCRETE)

[T] formal to remove waste from the body: to pass urineExcrement and its excretionUrine and urinatingBodily fluids and their production pass blood formal to have blood in your urine or faeces (= solid waste): If you pass blood, you should go and see your doctor.Urine and urinatingBodily fluids and their productionExcrement and its excretion

pass verb (NOT PLAY)

[I] to choose not to play in a part of a game or not to answer a question in a quizActions involved in playing cards

pass verb (CHANGE)

[I usually + adv/prep] to change from one state to another: Wax passes from solid to liquid when you heat it.ChangingAdapting and modifying Adapting and attuning to somethingChanging frequently


noun uk   /pɑːs/ us    /pæs/

pass noun (EXAM RESULT)

B2 [C] UK a successful result in an exam: Jon Hill achieved two grade A passes at A-level.Success and achievementsHigher and lower points of achievementFailures [C] US a successful result in a course or exam for which the student will not be given a mark: I got a pass in my Literature course.Marks and results

pass noun (BALL)

C2 [C] a movement of the ball from one player to another member of the same team in a team sportGeneral terms used in ball sports

pass noun (DOCUMENT)

B1 [C] an official document or ticket showing that you have the right to go somewhere or use a particular form of transport: a bus pass a boarding pass My guest pass allows me to use the club's facilities free of charge.Tickets [C] mainly US a document that allows a student to leave a class for a particular reason: She had a pass to go to the library.Schools in general

pass noun (PATH)

[C] a path or road between or over mountains: a mountain passRoutes and roads in generalHills and mountains

pass noun (BAD SITUATION)

[S] a difficult or unpleasant condition: If I'd been aware things had reached such a pass, I'd have told the police.UK It's come to a pretty pass (= it's a bad situation) when you can't even have a few quiet drinks with some friends.Difficult situations and unpleasant experiencesAccidents and disasters

pass noun (SEXUAL ACTION)

make a pass at sb informal to speak to or touch someone in a way that shows you would like to start a sexual relationship with themSexual attractionAttractive
(Definition of pass from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of pass?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Neglecting and ignoring, but you might be interested in these topics from the Attention and care topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “pass” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


When animals or people stampede, they all move quickly in the same direction, often because they are frightened.

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More