Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “past”

See all translations

past

preposition, adverb uk   /pɑːst/ us    /pæst/

past preposition, adverb (POSITION)

A2 in or to a position that is further than a particular point: I live on Station Road, just past the post office. Three boys went past us on mountain bikes. Was that Peter who just jogged past in those bright pink shorts?
More examples

past preposition, adverb (TIME)

A1 used to say what the time is when it is a particular number of minutes after an hour: It's five/ten/a quarter/twenty/twenty-five/half past three. I need to leave at twenty past or I'll miss that train.B2 above a particular age or further than a particular point: She's past the age where she needs a babysitter. Do what you want, I'm past caring (= I don't care any longer).

past

adjective uk   /pɑːst/ us    /pæst/

past adjective (TIME BEFORE)

B1 [before noun] used to refer to a period of time before and until the present: The average temperature worldwide has risen by about one degree Fahrenheit in the past 100 years. I've been walking three miles a day for the past 30 years. He was the fifth climber to die on these mountains over the past two days. In centuries/years past (= many centuries/years ago) even visiting the next village was considered a long journey.B1 [before noun] having happened or existed before now: I know from past experience that you can't judge by appearances. The prime minister's family have been instructed not to discuss his past life with the press. [after verb] finished: I'm feeling much better now that the cold weather is past.
More examples

past adjective (GRAMMAR)

[before noun] language of the past tense: "Must" does not have a past form.
More examples

past

noun [S] uk   /pɑːst/ us    /pæst/

past noun [S] (TIME BEFORE)

B1 the period before and until, but not including, the present time: Evolution can explain the past, but it can never predict the future. In the past, this sort of work was all done by hand. By winning the 1500 metres, he joins some of the great names of the past.a past a part of someone's life in which they did unacceptable or dishonest things: He's a man with a past.
More examples

past noun [S] (GRAMMAR)

A2 language the form of a verb used to describe actions, events, or states that happened or existed before the present time: The past of "change" is "changed".
(Definition of past from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of past?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “past” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

justice

fairness in the way people are dealt with

Word of the Day

A certain je ne sais quoi: French words and phrases used in English

by Liz Walter,
January 21, 2015
It is an odd irony that the more sophisticated your use of English is, the more likely you are to use French words and phrases. Or, to be more accurate, ones you know to be French – words such as ballet, au pair, abattoir, fiancé, café, and restaurant are so entrenched in

Read More 

flower beard noun

January 19, 2015
a beard adorned with flowers And some of said beard-rockers are even turning it up a notch, painting trend on top of trend with what’s come to be known as ‘the flower beard.’

Read More