past ( pasts plural )
In addition to the uses shown below, past is used in the phrasal verb `run past'.
1 n-sing The past is the time before the present, and the things that have happened.
the N (Antonym: future, present)
In the past, about a third of the babies born to women with diabetes were lost..., He should learn from the mistakes of the past. We have been here before... If you accuse someone of living in the past, you mean that they think too much about the past or believe that things are the same as they were in the past.
live in the past phrase V inflects (disapproval)
What was the point in living in the past, thinking about what had or had not happened?
2 n-count Your past consists of all the things that you have done or that have happened to you.
usu sing, usu with supp
...revelations about his past., ...Germany's recent past.
3 adj Past events and things happened or existed before the present time.
I knew from past experience that alternative therapies could help..., The list of past champions includes many British internationals.
4 adj You use past to talk about a period of time that has just finished. For example, if you talk about the past five years, you mean the period of five years that has just finished.
det ADJ n
(=last) (Antonym: next)
Most shops have remained closed for the past three days.
5 adj If a situation is past, it has ended and no longer exists.
LITERARY v-link ADJ
Many economists believe the worst of the economic downturn is past., ...images from years long past...
6 adj In grammar, the past tenses of a verb are the ones used to talk about things that happened at some time before the present. The simple past tense uses the past form of a verb, which for regular verbs ends in `-ed', as in `They walked back to the car'.
7 prep You use past when you are stating a time which is thirty minutes or less after a particular hour. For example, if it is twenty past six, it is twenty minutes after six o'clock.
num PREP num (Antonym: to)
It's ten past eleven..., I arrived at half past ten.
Past is also an adverb., adv num ADV (Antonym: to)
I have my lunch at half past.
8 prep If it is past a particular time, it is later than that time.
It was past midnight..., It's past your bedtime.
9 prep If you go past someone or something, you go near them and keep moving, so that they are then behind you.
I dashed past him and out of the door..., A steady procession of people filed past the coffin...
Past is also an adverb., adv
An ambulance drove past.
10 prep If you look or point past a person or thing, you look or point at something behind them.
v PREP n
She stared past Christine at the bed.
11 prep If something is past a place, it is on the other side of it.
v-link PREP n (Antonym: before)
Go north on I-15 to the exit just past Barstow...
12 prep If someone or something is past a particular point or stage, they are no longer at that point or stage.
usu v-link PREP n
He was well past retirement age...
13 prep If you are past doing something, you are no longer able to do it. For example, if you are past caring, you do not care about something any more because so many bad things have happened to you.
v-link PREP -ing
She was past caring about anything by then and just wanted the pain to end..., Often by the time they do accept the truth they are past being able to put words to feelings. If you say that someone or something is past it, they are no longer able to do what they used to do.
past it phrase v-link PHR (disapproval)
We could do with a new car. The one we've got is a bit past it.
14 If you say that you would not put it past someone to do something bad, you mean that you would not be surprised if they did it because you think their character is bad.
would not put it past sb/would not put anything past sb phrase oft PHR to-inf You know what she's like. I wouldn't put it past her to call the police and say I stole them.
A first-past-the-post system for choosing members of parliament or other representatives is one in which the candidate who gets most votes wins.
(BRIT) adj ADJ n
march-past ( march-pasts plural ) , march past When soldiers take part in a march-past, they march past an important person as part of a ceremonial occasion. n-count
past master ( past masters plural ) If you are a past masterat something, you are very skilful at it because you have had a lot of experience doing it. n-count usu N at/in/of n
He was a past-master at manipulating the media for his own ends..., She is an adept rock-climber and a past master of the assault course.
past participle ( past participles plural ) In grammar, the past participle of a verb is a form that is usually the same as the past form and so ends in `-ed'. A number of verbs have irregular past participles, for example `break' - past participle `broken', and `come' - past participle `come'. Past participles are used to form perfect tenses and the passive voice, and many of them can be used like an adjective in front of a noun. n-count
In grammar, the past perfect tenses of a verb are the ones used to talk about things that happened before a specific time. The simple past perfect tense uses `had' and the past participle of the verb, as in `She had seen him before'. It is sometimes called the pluperfect. adj ADJ n