Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “past”

past

adjective (TIME BEFORE)    /pɑːst/ US  /pæst/
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 .In the past 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 .In the past [after verb] finished : I'm feeling much better now that the cold weather is past.In the past Grammar:Definite time in the pastWe use the past simple to refer to definite time in the past (when we specify the time or how long) and usually with past time expressions such as yesterday, two weeks ago, last year, in 1995:Grammar:Time up to nowWe use the present perfect to talk about time up to now, that is, events that took place in the past but which connect with the present. The present perfect is often used with time expressions which indicate time up to now, for example today, this year, in the last six months:
(Definition of past adjective (TIME BEFORE) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of past

Definitions of “past” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

amicable

relating to behaviour between people that is pleasant and friendly, often despite a difficult situation

Word of the Day

Blog

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