Definition of passing in US English:



  • 1Going past.

    ‘passing cars’
    • ‘Pick your stuff up and run to the car, preferably on the passenger's side, putting the car between you and passing traffic.’
    • ‘It didn't have to compete with the background rumble of traffic, trains and industry, the blaring stereo from the passing car or even the incessant ring of mobile phones.’
    • ‘A passing police car was flagged down by witnesses and although the car was chased along Northway Lane it managed to escape.’
    • ‘Eventually she managed to flag down a passing car which took her to the Tyrls police station in the city centre.’
    • ‘In fact I do forget, but then I see my reflection in a storefront window or in the window of a passing car, and I'm this man holding a box.’
    • ‘Outside Mrs Roughley, who had been joined outside by some regulars, flagged down a passing police car.’
    • ‘We walked across the bridge, admiring its construction, the passing cars and the East River perilously close.’
    • ‘A police spokesman said a collie was struck by a passing car as it escaped the camper van and ran away from the scene of the accident.’
    • ‘They looked serious: they were touting machine guns and had one of those spiked things you throw across the road when you want to puncture the tyres of passing cars.’
    • ‘The doorman flagged down a passing police car and pointed officers in the direction of Wicker Hill.’
    • ‘Demonstrators burned tyres and hurled stones at passing police cars.’
    • ‘In another incident an hour later a gunman got out of a blue Rover and fired at a passing car on Wellington Road, Moss Side in what police believe may have been a case of mistaken identity.’
    • ‘A passing police car was alerted to the incident and arrested the teenager in minutes.’
    • ‘The sound of children excitedly running around their school playground and the drone of passing cars are the only noises that disturb the tranquillity of rural life.’
    • ‘They hang in the trees, rest on the wires, run across the lawn in search of crumbs and dive bomb into the bushes when a passing car frightens them.’
    • ‘Theywere able to flag down a passing police car which escorted them to an area where they could park as Lisa began to deliver the baby.’
    • ‘He tailed her for some time before a passing police car scared him off.’
    • ‘Finally after hours at the knife-edge of death, he fled half-stripped, bleeding and handcuffed into the street, where he flagged down a passing police car.’
    • ‘Luckily a passing police car stopped and helped.’
    • ‘Sleeping by day was none the less a poor option, as they were persistent, and not easily convinced of your absence; your heart would race with every passing car or footstep.’
  • 2(of a period of time) going by.

    ‘she detested him more with every passing second’
    • ‘The number of titles available gradually rises with each passing semester.’
    • ‘The passing summer days are pleasant for the newly married Clym and Eustacia.’
    • ‘We get so used to actors slapping on make up in order to age, that seeing them acquire genuine signs of the passing years is a shock of realism.’
    • ‘My drinks shelf used to live; the ebb and flow in the bottles pulsating with the passing days.’
    • ‘Thanks to a summer that threatens to get more scorching with each passing day, the hapless Bangalorean doesn't have any other choice.’
    • ‘Each passing year leaves us with fewer veterans of the First World War to describe eye-witness accounts of the horror, bravery and comradeship at the front.’
    • ‘They lost comrades-in-arms by the score during the four-year-conflict and the number of survivors has dwindled with every passing anniversary.’
    • ‘The centrepiece of attraction is that the calendar tells a heart warming story with each passing month of the current year.’
    • ‘His stroppy attention-seeking reaches new levels with each passing day, as do his half-hearted demands to leave Celebrity Big Brother.’
    • ‘But as the new season moved closer, the stakes were raised with every passing day.’
    • ‘He described the situation as alarming because, according to experts, the quality of the grain was deteriorating with every passing day.’
    • ‘‘It's been over a week and every passing day is now critical,’ Bellamy said.’
    • ‘He wasn't really bad looking but the passing years of seven decades definitely changed him.’
    • ‘The idea that a business must endure and grow stronger with every passing year or quarter seems quite contrary to what the reality of business is.’
    • ‘I suspect it was the latter, because more and more people left with each passing inning.’
    • ‘With every passing year, the number of journalists voting increased.’
    • ‘We do, however, need to address the situation with regards to new entrants into farming as, currently, the average age of our farmers is increasing with each passing year.’
    • ‘The numbers are decreasing with every passing year, their writing and painting are gradually fading out, their pages have become fragile and brittle.’
    • ‘So with the passing years some religions died while others gained in strength.’
    • ‘However, it will not steer him wide of the summer scrap heap on to which record numbers of players are being carelessly tossed with each passing year.’
    1. 2.1 Carried out quickly and lightly.
      ‘a passing glance’
      • ‘Intrigued by this passing reference I decided to do a little more research into the subject and in this blog I will pass on my findings about these courageous animals.’
      • ‘The Port Huron Statement made just a passing reference condemning aid to the South Vietnamese dictatorship.’
      • ‘The protesters, who are taking it in turns to sit under an umbrella beside the statue of Winston Churchill, had been attracting no more than a passing glance.’
      • ‘You probably see passing references to the casualties, like daily box scores-just as brief and much more brutal.’
      • ‘It is only a brief passing reference but it contains a little of the evidence which was given in the Family Court on the interlocutory proceedings.’
      • ‘Caught in a passing glance, Mount Athos rises in the distance and Ithaca is depicted as an alien landscape of jagged rocks before an endless horizon.’
      • ‘For a while we chatted about operas we had seen, and so on, the occasional passing reference to life outside opera, nothing special, nothing heavy.’
      • ‘He made only a passing reference, though, to weapons of mass destruction.’
      • ‘Most of the time that will just be a passing phase.’
      • ‘So it's about three passing references in the teacher's notes?’
      • ‘A passing reference is made to the landowner's illicit, abusive relationship with Nahila's mother and her sisters.’
      • ‘She thought it was a passing phase but it didn't pass.’
      • ‘News will make only a passing reference (if that) to the bigger picture - and then probably at the end of an item.’
      • ‘Guitars stretch and breathe while the bass and drums are left free to wander - typical song writing formula only gets a passing glance.’
      • ‘I was aghast and horrified at the extent of human stupidity, and chalked it up to a quickly passing fad that would be soon go the way of foot binding.’
      • ‘Though it merits not even a passing reference in tax law, we all pay pain-added tax on just about everything.’
      • ‘Hopefully a passing glance would not trigger him to do anything hasty.’
      • ‘He does make two passing references that provide some fresh meat for those more interested in that than his comprehensive strategy for the paper.’
      • ‘While everyone knew it was there somewhere in the foothills of life, society, the medical world and the Church seemed to give it no more than a passing glance.’
      • ‘So one must ask, is it enough for an opposition party to merely make passing reference to the perceived wrong direction of the government of the day?’
      hasty, rapid, hurried, brief, quick
      View synonyms
  • 3US Meeting or surpassing the requirements of a course or examination.

    ‘a passing grade’
    • ‘He got a passing grade, but only after seducing the 55-year old former heavy metal chick that taught the class.’
    • ‘As economics, the New Deal deserves a passing grade, but as crisis management it was a huge success.’
    • ‘He calls it his ‘sue the bastards’ class, and students must file a lawsuit to receive a passing grade.’
    • ‘Often curriculum for these courses is tougher than the preparation required for passing entrance examinations.’
    • ‘No matter what the grade on the second exam, the grade for the course was a 75-a passing grade at the University of Miami.’
    • ‘His grades at the time of the accident suggest otherwise. He switched courses twice and never achieved passing grades.’
    • ‘By giving a student a passing grade, the teacher is certifying that the student does have some minimal percentage of the terminal repertoire.’
    • ‘The overall passing score for the examination is determined by using the mean of the scores from a group of judges.’
    • ‘When it comes to providing basic affordability, we might very well be ahead of the curve, but we're still barely pulling a passing grade.’
    • ‘He received what military analysts consider only a passing grade for his time, 56 points out of a 50 point minimum.’
    • ‘Their proposal probably would not have received a passing grade in the course I teach on proposal writing.’
    • ‘Now, I have to confess that I'm so pitiful at math that in high school I could barely crack a passing grade in trig.’
    • ‘Well, of course, they simply redefine what constitutes a passing grade, and everything's fine.’
    • ‘By comparison, co-op work reports for arts students are significantly shorter and do not require a technical review for a passing grade.’
    • ‘The team must attend regular training meetings, get passing grades in school and be alcohol and drug-free.’
    • ‘He's Harry Potter, and for his fans, until they need a passing grade in that film-study course, that's good enough.’
    • ‘This means that a passing grade can be awarded to someone who learned essentially nothing but tried real hard.’
    • ‘And one of the reasons we gave it today is that at least two of the Fs can be made into passing grades in the course of the next two weeks.’
    • ‘I stumbled through the course, got a passing score, and received my license.’
    • ‘I'm sure Mrs. H. would be deeply disappointed in all parties involved and would not issue passing grades but so goes it.’


  • 1The passage of something, especially time.

    ‘with the passing of the years she had become a little eccentric’
    • ‘I never noticed the passing of time, until the light coming in the window disappeared, and my stomach started growling.’
    • ‘The passing of time has made it a blurred image of what it was once.’
    • ‘The passing of June 16 this year will not however be greeted with the usual eager anticipation within the area's angling community.’
    • ‘The passing of time has failed to ease the pain for a teenager whose father who was gunned down in a Limerick pub last year.’
    • ‘The passing of time has not erased old enmities.’
    • ‘Actually, when you're dead you don't seem to notice the passing of time quite so much; it begins to seem very, very trivial.’
    • ‘The passing of time should produce a more balanced appreciation of the heterogeneous and differential impact of the web as a consumer sales channel.’
    • ‘The passing of time was very much unnoticeable for a man with Jun's mindset.’
    • ‘The passing of this milestone demonstrates the excellent acceptance of the VLT and its instrumentation by the astronomers.’
    • ‘The passing of time has enshrined Keegan's infamous combustion on live TV as the pivotal moment in the 1995-1996 title race.’
    • ‘The passing of time is of little significance in a world where the future is fully known and accounted for in advance.’
    • ‘The hope was great before, but it had shrunk with the passing of time, the changing of boy friends.’
    passage, course, progress, advance, process, flow
    View synonyms
  • 2The action of throwing, kicking, or hitting a ball or puck to another team member during a sports match.

    ‘his play showed good passing and good control’
    as modifier ‘a good passing movement’
    • ‘The pace is too slow, we need a higher tempo, to be slicker and quicker with our passing and movement.’
    • ‘Yes, their passing and movement was exceptional and we were getting tired just trying to keep up with them.’
    • ‘Airdrie controlled this match with great passing and ball control, but couldn't find the net.’
    • ‘Both sides should take credit for a competitive and high tempo game with plenty of good passing and movement on a surface freshened by light rain.’
    • ‘They were strong on the ball, and their passing and movement was top notch.’
    • ‘This motivated team produced excellent early passing and control for a short corner mid-way into the half.’
    • ‘The Argentinian has scored twice in his six games for United so far, but it's his pinpoint passing and instant control of the ball that have really caught the eye.’
    • ‘The team doesn't have a player who can create his own shot, so it relies on movement and passing to create open looks.’
    • ‘It was a game which exuded excellent, fast play with good passing, finishing and sporting behaviour.’
    • ‘Their passing and movement was excellent and Walsh added to his tally on ten minutes following an flowing move through midfield.’
    • ‘Instant ball control and accurate passing in tight spaces, rather than any brute force, are the compulsory requirements for a futsal player.’
    • ‘The passing from both teams is slick enough, but nobody's creating any chances.’
    • ‘For 20 minutes the desired effect was movement and passing and control from United.’
    • ‘Both teams stressed team play and passing to the open man.’
    • ‘His rebounding and outlet passing should fuel the Rockets' fast break.’
    • ‘While they wisely stuck to their game plan of short passing and quick movement, the Hoops reverted to hopeful long balls and aimless passes into space.’
    • ‘Handball is all about high speed and precise, quick passing - one of the more high octane sports at the Olympics.’
    • ‘He keeps it simple, his movement and passing are excellent, and physically he is as fit as anybody.’
    • ‘Netball, which she played at county level, is perhaps the most obvious, being a more pedestrian form of rugby with its quick passing, catching and ball movement.’
    • ‘Superior passing and movement allied to a couple of home decisions from the referee meant that England lost control in the first half.’
  • 3The end of something.

    ‘the passing of the Cold War and the rise of a new Europe’
    • ‘In what ways have you seen the world change - even with the passing of the Cold War?’
    • ‘The passing of the Soviet Union was merely the stripping away of the latest Russian costume.’
    • ‘Death also symbolises endings, so the passing of relationships, jobs and periods of life are reflected upon.’
    • ‘So did the global context, especially the passing of cold-war politics.’
    • ‘Even the people at Maverick say they regret the passing of a ‘colourful piece of Calgary's culture.’’
    • ‘All of which becomes rather puzzling when considering that the spying profession was rendered entirely obsolete with the passing of the Cold War.’
    • ‘With the passing of the Cold War, humanity's experience of nuclear weapons and their meaning may turn to other regions.’
    • ‘Why bother when none would notice the passing of it?’
    • ‘The passing of mass tourism may be a matter of regret to the local business community, but it has allowed the Broads to survive as a natural habitat.’
    • ‘The passing of the post office was a great loss to the community but let us not forget the rambling houses.’
    • ‘One major factor has been India's economic reform process, which began with the passing of the Cold War.’
    • ‘The passing of the Cold War was therefore likely to unveil a new age of power politics, untrammelled by the checks and balances of the Cold War.’
    1. 3.1euphemistic A person's death.
      ‘her passing will be felt deeply by many people’
      • ‘The passing of a prominent personality within the mineral community always gives us pause and a time of reflection.’
      • ‘I hope that the New Zealand public will take some notice of the passing of these two people who were men of principle, men we could respect.’
      • ‘The passing of so many from the old guard means that in Australia, they really are getting younger.’
      • ‘But that did not prevent rumours that it was due to her unhappiness about the marriage and speculation that her sudden passing had placed a curse on the union.’
      • ‘The passing of one so young and gifted has hit the Wellington rugby community hard.’
      • ‘The passing of people whom you've known all your days and with whom you worked on many occasions, always comes a jolt.’
      • ‘The passing of this Elder was another situation altogether.’
      • ‘Of those overcome by death and passing to another world, a father cannot hold back his son, nor relatives a relation.’
      • ‘His sudden passing caused deep regret in the local area.’
      • ‘It is with great sorrow and sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our dear son, husband, father, grandfather and brother, Noël.’
      • ‘The passing of the greatest in any field is bound to have a big impact, so you can imagine what it was like when the greatest hurling maestro of all time suddenly passed away in his native Cork.’
      • ‘The passing of a Pope is always a dramatic moment.’
      • ‘He was a hardworking energetic man who was very much devoted to his family and his sudden passing has caused widespread shock and grief in the community.’
      • ‘The passing of any significant literary figure is always a sad business; but what to make of the spectacular nature of Green's death?’
      • ‘The sad tidings of his sudden passing were received with much regret and neighbours and friends rallied around Patricia and family in their time of grief.’
      • ‘The passing of Her Majesty, the Queen Mother has finally brought the 20th century to an end.’
      • ‘The notice recorded the passing of my very first boss.’
      • ‘The passing of a father is always a cause for deep grief.’
      • ‘In her mid-sixties and a frequent visitor to her old home in Parks, her sudden passing is a great loss to her loving family.’
      • ‘The passing of Margaret is also a sad event in that so many of those old families are no longer around anymore and a people and period is fast fading from the landscape.’
      death, demise, passing away, passing on, end, expiry, loss, expiration, decease
      View synonyms


  • in passing

    • Briefly and casually.

      ‘the research was mentioned only in passing’
      • ‘All were mentioned in passing, but the hottest topic of all was what was happening off the pitch.’
      • ‘Now they mention it in passing and go on to other security issues.’
      • ‘Last week I mentioned in passing that I find shaving to be terribly boring, and a real waste of time.’
      • ‘Sister Briodie mentioned, almost in passing, that I will need front-opening pyjamas.’
      • ‘My birthday seemed to be the perfect excuse and I mentioned it in passing to my husband who, in turn, booked a table.’
      • ‘Morris dancers are only mentioned in passing in the text, in the section on calendar customs, and costume not at all.’
      • ‘I said that I was going to mention another Act to your Honours and I mention it only in passing.’
      • ‘There was talk of his daughter who was a friend of the abused girl I referred to just now, but she was only mentioned in passing.’
      • ‘I mentioned that in passing at the time and it elicited a stream of foul-mouthed, intemperate abuse from him.’
      • ‘You make mention in passing of nuclear power, but doesn't the logic of your argument mean you should be a strong supporter of it?’
      • ‘A couple of months back, I mentioned this blog in passing to someone I know.’
      • ‘So when you phone, you might want to mention in passing that you are also considering a couple of their rivals.’
      • ‘She was sorry that she had even even alerted me to his existence by mentioning him in passing.’
      • ‘While the novel makes some room for the landowners the film mentions them only in passing.’
      • ‘I mentioned in passing that this was no great tragedy for me, as indeed it wasn't, but that was all.’
      • ‘Mention in passing that your beauty salon is really near the office.’
      • ‘It was mentioned in passing that computers used binary, and programmers would often use octal.’
      • ‘The energy crisis, so crucial to the whole mess, is really mentioned only in passing.’
      • ‘I mentioned it in passing to someone the following day and thought nothing more of it.’
      • ‘Apparently it was mentioned in passing the other night, and the pentagon is being very close-lipped about it.’
      incidentally, by the by, by the way, as it happens, in the course of conversation, en passant, parenthetically
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