Meaning of “pass” in the English Dictionary

"pass" in British English

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passverb

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.

[ T ] to go past a particular point in time:

Don't buy goods that have passed their sell-by date.

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.

More examples

  • Stand aside, please, and let these people pass.
  • He took a step backwards to allow her to pass.
  • The ship passed Land's End, then steered towards southern Ireland.
  • She affectionately ruffled his hair with her hand as she passed.
  • After a strong start, she was passed by several runners on the final lap and finished ninth.

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.

More examples

  • She's been trying to pass her driving test for six years and she's finally succeeded.
  • After all his hard work, he certainly ought to pass his exams.
  • I passed in history but failed in chemistry.
  • The teacher expected her to pass the exam without any difficulty.
  • I took a flute exam last month and I'm still waiting to hear whether I passed.

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.

C2 [ I or T ] In sports, if you pass the ball, you kick, throw, or hit it to someone in your team.

[ 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 $100 bill.
She was arrested for passing stolen cheques.

More examples

  • Could you pass me that book?
  • She passed him the mug, filled to the brim with hot black coffee.
  • Pass me the camera, I want to take a photo.
  • She passed a plate of biscuits around .
  • Minelli passes the ball to Hernandez out there on the wing.

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.

B2 [ T ] If you pass a period of time, you do something to stop yourself being bored during that period:

More examples

  • Hardly had a moment passed before the door creaked open.
  • Janet was surprised how quickly the time passed.
  • The next two days passed in a whirl of activity.
  • Time passes so quickly when you're enjoying yourself.
  • While we were waiting we did the crossword to pass the time.

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.
The food supplement had been passed as safe for human consumption.

More examples

  • The jury passed a verdict of guilty, with an appeal to the judge for clemency.
  • This legislation won't be passed during the life of the present parliament.
  • The motion was passed.
  • It's one of the most ridiculous laws that has ever been passed.
  • The two countries are resuming negotiations after a new resolution was passed by the Security Council.

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).
pass sentence

to say officially, as a judge, what a criminal's official punishment will be

passnoun

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.

[ 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.

More examples

  • Peters received a diagonal pass and headed the ball into the net.
  • Batistuta intercepted Neville's pass and scored the third goal.
  • That was a perfect pass from Rooney to Owen.
  • Yet another brilliant pass by Anderson!
  • Another sloppy pass like that might lose them the whole match.

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.

[ 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.

More examples

  • Annie's the film critic for the local radio station, so she's got a free pass for all the cinemas in the area.
  • The official at the gate checked our passes.
  • You need a security pass to enter the building.
  • All passengers will require a boarding pass and a valid passport.
  • They gave me a backstage pass and I met some of the actors.

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 them

(Definition of “pass” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"pass" in American English

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passverb

us /pæs/

pass verb (GO PAST)

[ I/T ] to go past or move beyond something or someone:

[ T ] A car passed us doing 70 miles per hour.
[ I ] I was just passing by and stopped to say hello.

pass verb (GO THROUGH)

[ I/T ] to cause something to go around, across, through, etc., something else, or to be positioned in such a way:

[ T ] Pass the wire through the slot and pull it out from the other side.
[ I always + adv/prep ] The causeway passes across the bay and takes you to the mainland.

pass verb (GIVE)

[ I/T ] to give something to someone:

[ T ] Please pass the bread.

[ I/T ] In team sports played with a ball, if you pass, you throw, kick, or hit the ball to someone on your team.

pass verb (DO WELL)

[ I/T ] to be successful in a test, exam, or course, or to judge someone as having been successful in it:

[ T ] The professor said that if I passed the final exam, she’ll pass me.

pass verb (TIME)

[ I/T ] to go past or through a period of time:

[ I ] The hours passed quickly.

pass verb (APPROVE)

[ I/T ] to approve or be approved by a group having authority, esp. by voting:

[ T ] The bill passed both houses of Congress and was signed by the president.
[ I ] The bill passed unanimously.

pass verb (NOT DO)

[ I ] to choose not to do, have, take part in, or take a turn at something:

I think I’ll pass on going to the movies.

pass verb (BE ACCEPTED)

[ I ] to be accepted as being something that you are not, esp. something better or more attractive:

Marion looks so young she could pass for 30.
Do this jacket and skirt match well enough to pass as a suit?
passing
adjective [ not gradable ] us /ˈpæs·ɪŋ/

passnoun [ C ]

us /pæs/

pass noun [ C ] (DOCUMENT)

an official document or ticket showing that you have the right to go somewhere or do something:

We bought three-day passes to the amusement park.
The children get bus passes to travel to and from school.

pass noun [ C ] (DOING WELL)

a mark given to show that a student has successfully completed a course or an exam

pass noun [ C ] (GIVING)

the act of giving or sending the ball to another player on your own team:

The receiver dropped the pass.

(Definition of “pass” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"pass" in Business English

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passverb

uk /pɑːs/ us /pæs/

[ I or T ] to go past something or someone or move in relation to it or them:

I was just passing by, so I thought I'd drop in for a chat.

[ T ] to go past a particular point in time:

Don't buy goods which have passed their sell-by date.

[ T ] to go past something by being greater in amount or degree:

As the world's largest convenience store chain, it just passed McDonald's in the number of worldwide outlets.
pass the $1m/€100m/£10bn, etc. mark The company is expected to pass the $10m mark by the end of this year.

[ I ] if you say a situation or feeling will pass, you mean it will disappear:

We're in a difficult economic situation, but it will pass eventually.

[ I or T ] to be successful in an examination, course, etc.:

All interviewees need to pass a basic math and literacy test.

[ T ] to give something to someone:

Could you pass me that file, please?

[ T ] if you pass money, you give someone false or stolen money without telling them:

Police have warned businesses that someone is passing stolen checks in the area.

[ I ] when time passes, it goes past:

A lot of time has passed since we opened our first store.

[ T ] if you pass time, you spend time doing something:

With more people passing time in the terminal, airport officials try to make them comfortable.

[ T ] to give approval to something, especially by voting to make it law:

California passed a law in September to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25%.

[ I ] to choose not to answer a question:

pass on sth Asked whether he thought the FA should intervene, he replied diplomatically: 'Can I pass on this one?'

[ I ] to change from one condition to another:

pass from sth to sth As new electronic gadgets fall in price, they pass from a niche product to a mass product.

passnoun [ C ]

uk /pɑːs/ us /pæs/

an official document or ticket which shows that you have the right to go somewhere or use a particular form of transport:

a parking/security/visitor's pass Sign in at reception and they will give you a visitor's pass.
an annual/season/three-day pass Frequent visitors of national forests can save money by buying an annual pass.

a successful result in an examination:

This candidate got 4 grade A passes at A-level.

(Definition of “pass” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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