past

Past events have already happened — if it happened an Ice Age ago, a century ago, or even a minute ago, it's in the past.

They say the past is history and it's true. If you have ever been accused of "living in the past," you cling to what was instead of reveling in what is. If you hear that a person or a rare object in an antique store "has a past," get ready for a colorful story. As an adjective, past describes what is no longer current, like the past president of a club or past fashion craze — it's over: its time has passed.

Primary Meanings of past

1.
adjn
earlier than the present time; no longer current
the time that has elapsed
2.
adv
so as to pass a given point
Full Definitions of past
1

adj earlier than the present time; no longer current

“time past
“his youth is past
“this past Thursday”
“the past year”
Synonyms:
noncurrent
not current or belonging to the present time
outgoing
leaving a place or a position
old
of long duration; not new
ago, agone
gone by; or in the past
ancient
belonging to times long past especially of the historical period before the fall of the Western Roman Empire
bygone, bypast, departed, foregone, gone
well in the past; former
chivalric, knightly, medieval
characteristic of the time of chivalry and knighthood in the Middle Ages
early, former, other
belonging to the distant past
erstwhile, former, old, one-time, onetime, quondam, sometime
belonging to some prior time
former, late, previous
(used especially of persons) of the immediate past
historic, historical
belonging to the past; of what is important or famous in the past
last
immediately past
late, recent
of the immediate past or just previous to the present time
olden
long past
other
recently past
prehistoric, prehistorical
belonging to or existing in times before recorded history
then
at a specific prior time
ult, ultimo
in or of the month preceding the present one
Antonyms:
present
temporal sense; intermediate between past and future; now existing or happening or in consideration
future
yet to be or coming
incoming
arriving at a place or position
existing
presently existing
immediate
of the present time and place
inst, instant
in or of the present month
latter-day
belonging to the present or recent times
approaching, coming, forthcoming, upcoming
of the relatively near future
future day
yet to come
early
expected in the near future
emerging, rising
coming to maturity
in store
in readiness; awaiting
prox, proximo
in or of the next month after the present
prospective
of or concerned with or related to the future
show more antonyms...

adj of a person who has held and relinquished a position or office

Synonyms:
preceding, retiring
outgoing
leaving a place or a position

n the time that has elapsed

“forget the past
Synonyms:
past times, yesteryear
Antonyms:
future, futurity, hereafter, time to come
the time yet to come
Types:
show 7 types...
hide 7 types...
yore
time long past
bygone, water under the bridge
past events to be put aside
old
past times (especially in the phrase `in days of old')
history
the aggregate of past events
time immemorial, time out of mind
the distant past beyond memory
auld langsyne, good old days, langsyne, old times
past times remembered with nostalgia
yesterday
the recent past
Type of:
time
the continuum of experience in which events pass from the future through the present to the past

n a earlier period in someone's life (especially one that they have reason to keep secret)

“reporters dug into the candidate's past
Type of:
period, period of time, time period
an amount of time

n a verb tense that expresses actions or states in the past

Synonyms:
past tense
Types:
preterit, preterite
a term formerly used to refer to the simple past tense
Type of:
tense
a grammatical category of verbs used to express distinctions of time
2

adv so as to pass a given point

“every hour a train goes past
Synonyms:
by

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.