One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A picture or photograph simply mounted between a piece of glass and a sheet of cardboard (or two pieces of glass) stuck together at the edges with adhesive tape.
- ‘You find here vendors of Cardboard for passepartouts from Germany and Russia.’
- ‘At Halbe you have a choice of five colours and a variety of thicknesses. You can choose between 1.5 and 3 mm thick passepartouts’
- 1.1 Adhesive tape or paper used in making passe-partout frames.‘a looking glass of passe-partout and blackened mercury’
2archaic A master key.
Late 17th century: from French, literally ‘passes everywhere’.
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