pass1 / pas/ • v. 1. [intr.] move in a specified direction: he passed through towns and villages the shells from the Allied guns were passing very low overhead. ∎ [tr.] cause (something) to move or lie in a specified direction or position: he passed a weary hand across his forehead pass an electric current through it. ∎ change from one state or condition to another: homes that have passed from public to private ownership. ∎ [intr.] die (used euphemistically): his father had passed to the afterlife she passed away peacefully in her sleep a good and decent man has passed on.2. [tr.] go past or across; leave behind or on one side in proceeding: she passed a rest area with a pay phone the two vehicles had no room to pass each other | [intr.] we will not let you pass. ∎ go beyond the limits of; surpass; exceed: this item has passed its sell-by date. ∎ Tennis hit a winning shot past (an opponent).3. [intr.] (of time or a point in time) elapse; go by: the day and night passed slowly the moment had passed. ∎ happen; be done or said: not another word passed between them | this fact has passed almost unnoticed. ∎ [tr.] spend or use up (a period of time): this was how they passed the time. ∎ come to an end: the danger had passed.4. [tr.] transfer (something) to someone, esp. by handing or bequeathing it to the next person in a series: your letter has been passed to Mr. Rich for action please pass the fish | he passed her a cup. ∎ [intr.] be transferred from one person or place to another, esp. by inheritance: infections can pass from mother to child at birth if Ann remarried the estate would pass to her new husband. ∎ (in football, soccer, hockey, and other games) throw, kick, or hit (the ball or puck) to another player on one's own team. ∎ put (something, esp. money) into circulation: persons who have passed bad checks. ∎ [intr.] (esp. of money) circulate; be current: cash was passing briskly.5. [tr.] (of a candidate) be successful in (an examination, test, or course): she passed her driving test. ∎ judge the performance or standard of (someone or something) to be satisfactory: [tr.] he was passed fit by army doctors. ∎ [intr.] be accepted as adequate; go uncensured: she couldn't agree, but let it pass her rather revealing dress passed without comment. ∎ [intr.] (pass as/for) be accepted as or taken for: he could pass for a native of Sweden.6. [tr.] (of a legislative or other official body) approve or put into effect (a proposal or law) by voting on it: the bill was passed despite fierce opposition. ∎ (of a proposal or law) be examined and approved by (a legislative body or process): bills that passed committees last year. ∎ [intr.] (of a proposal) be approved: the bill passed by 164 votes to 107.7. [tr.] pronounce (a judgment or judicial sentence): passing judgment on these crucial issues it is now my duty to pass sentence upon you. ∎ utter (something, esp. criticism): she would pass remarks about the Paxtons in their own house. ∎ [intr.] (pass on/upon) archaic adjudicate or give a judgment on: a jury could not be trusted to pass upon the question of Endicott's good faith.8. [tr.] discharge (something, esp. urine or feces) from the body: frequency of passing urine.9. [intr.] forgo one's turn in a game or an offered opportunity: we pass on dessert and have coffee. ∎ [as interj.] said when one does not know the answer to a question, for example in a quizzing game: to the enigmatic question we answered “Pass.” ∎ [tr.] (of a company) not declare or pay (a dividend). ∎ Bridge make no bid when it is one's turn during an auction. ∎ [tr.] Bridge make no bid in response to (one's partner's bid): East had passed his partner's opening bid of one club.• n. 1. an act or instance of moving past or through something: repeated passes with the swipe card an unmarked plane had been making passes over his house. ∎ inf. an amorous or sexual advance made to someone: she made a pass at Stephen. ∎ an act of passing the hands over anything, as in conjuring or hypnotism. ∎ a thrust in fencing. ∎ a juggling trick. ∎ Bridge an act of refraining from bidding during the auction. ∎ Comput. a single scan through a set of data or a program.2. a successful completion of an examination or course, usually without honors: [as adj.] a 100 percent pass rate. ∎ the grade indicating this. ∎ Brit. an achievement of a university degree without honors: [as adj.] a pass degree. 3. a card, ticket, or permit giving authorization for the holder to enter or have access to a place, form of transportation, or event.4. (in football, soccer, hockey, and other games) an act of throwing, kicking, or hitting the ball or puck to another player on the same team.5. a state or situation of a specified, usually bad or difficult, nature: this is a sad pass for a fixture that used to crackle with excitement.PHRASES: come to a pretty pass reach a bad or regrettable state of affairs.pass the batonsee baton.pass the bucksee buck3 .pass one's eye over read (a document) cursorily.pass the hatsee hat.pass one's lipssee lip.pass mustersee muster.pass the parcelsee parcel.pass the time of daysee time.pass water urinate.PHRASAL VERBS: pass someone by happen without being noticed or fully experienced by someone: sometimes I feel that life is passing me by.pass off (of proceedings) happen or be carried through in a specified, usually satisfactory, way: the weekend had passed off entirely without incident.pass something off1. evade or lightly dismiss an awkward remark: he made a light joke and passed it off.2. Basketball throw the ball to a teammate who is unguarded: he scored eight times and passed off six assists.pass someone/something off as falsely represent a person or thing as (something else): the drink was packaged in champagne bottles and was being passed off as the real stuff.pass out1. become unconscious: he consumed enough alcohol to make him pass out.2. (of bridge players) not play a hand because all players have passed.pass someone over ignore the claims of someone to promotion or advancement: he was passed over for a cabinet job.pass something over avoid mentioning or considering something: I shall pass over the matter of the transitional period.pass something up refrain from taking up an opportunity: he passed up a career in pro baseball.DERIVATIVES: pass·er n. he's a good passer of the ball.pass2 • n. a route over or through mountains: the pass over the mountain was open again after the snows | [in place names] the Khyber Pass. ∎ a passage for fish over or past a weir or dam. ∎ a navigable channel, esp. at the mouth of a river.PHRASES: head (or cut) someone/something off at the pass forestall someone or something: the doctor's aim to head the infection off at the pass.
As a verb, to utter or pronounce, as when the court passes sentence upon a prisoner. Also to proceed; to be rendered or given, as when judgment is said to pass for the plaintiff in a suit.
In legislative parlance, a bill or resolution is said to pass when it is agreed to or enacted by the house, or when the body has sanctioned its adoption by the requisite majority of votes; in the same circumstances, the body is said to pass the bill or motion.
When an auditor appointed to examine any accounts certifies to their correctness, she is said to pass them; i.e., they pass through the examination without being detained or sent back for inaccuracy or imperfection.
The term also means to examine anything and then authoritatively determine the disputed questions that it involves. In this sense a jury is said to pass upon the rights or issues in litigation before them.
In the language of conveyancing, the term means to move from one person to another; i.e. to be transferred or conveyed from one owner to another.
To publish; utter; transfer; circulate; impose fraudulently. This is the meaning of the word when referring to the offense of passing counterfeit money or a forged paper.
As a noun, permission to pass; a license to go or come; a certificate, emanating from authority, wherein it is declared that a designated person is permitted to go beyond certain boundaries that, without such authority, he could not lawfully pass. Also a ticket issued by a railroad or other transportation company, authorizing a designated person to travel free on its lines, between certain points or for a limited time.
pass on the torch pass on a tradition; the expression comes originally from the Roman poet Lucretius (c.94–55 bc) in De Rerum Natura. The reference is to the torch-race of classical antiquity, in which the runners carried lighted torches and (in some cases) passed them on to other runners stationed at certain points.
See also pass the parcel.
Hence passable that may be passed; that passes muster. XV. — (O)F.