Definition of passing in English:


Line breaks: pass|ing
Pronunciation: /ˈpɑːsɪŋ


  • 1Going past: passing cars
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    • Luckily a passing police car stopped and helped.
    • Demonstrators burned tyres and hurled stones at passing police cars.
    • A passing police car was flagged down by witnesses and although the car was chased along Northway Lane it managed to escape.
  • 2(Of a period of time) going by: she detested him more with every passing second
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    • 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.
    • ‘It's been over a week and every passing day is now critical,’ Bellamy said.
    • My drinks shelf used to live; the ebb and flow in the bottles pulsating with the passing days.
  • 2.1Carried out quickly and lightly: a passing glance
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    • You probably see passing references to the casualties, like daily box scores-just as brief and much more brutal.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 3(Of a resemblance or similarity) slight.
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    • The hotel is a terracotta-coloured delightful Belle Epoch creation, which has more than a passing resemblance to the Carlton in Cannes, just along the coast.
    • Nevertheless, it's pleasing to note the passing similarity of the resulting image with the angular Vorticist art that I was looking at only thirty minutes later.
    • And yes, with the carefully-coiffured blond hair, tan and surfer's smile, he does bear a passing resemblance to the actor.


[mass noun] Back to top  
  • 1The passage of something, especially time: with the passing of the years she had become a little eccentric
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    • 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.
    • 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 enshrined Keegan's infamous combustion on live TV as the pivotal moment in the 1995-1996 title race.
    passage, course, progress, advance, process, flow
  • 2(In sport) the action of passing a ball to another team member: his play showed good passing and control
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    • Instant ball control and accurate passing in tight spaces, rather than any brute force, are the compulsory requirements for a futsal player.
    • This motivated team produced excellent early passing and control for a short corner mid-way into the half.
    • They were strong on the ball, and their passing and movement was top notch.
  • 3The end of something: the passing of the Cold War
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    • 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.
    • All of which becomes rather puzzling when considering that the spying profession was rendered entirely obsolete with the passing of the Cold War.
    • One major factor has been India's economic reform process, which began with the passing of the Cold War.
  • 3.1 euphemistic A person’s death: her passing will be felt deeply by many people
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    • Of those overcome by death and passing to another world, a father cannot hold back his son, nor relatives a relation.
    • 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.
    • 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.


in passing

Briefly and casually: the research was mentioned only in passing
More example sentences
  • Sister Briodie mentioned, almost in passing, that I will need front-opening pyjamas.
  • I mentioned that in passing at the time and it elicited a stream of foul-mouthed, intemperate abuse from him.
  • It was mentioned in passing that computers used binary, and programmers would often use octal.



More example sentences
  • This week an Israeli security delegation paid a secretive visit to India which was passingly reported in both Indian and Israeli media unlike earlier occasions when such visits were accorded full glare of media attention.
  • Actually, I'm passingly familiar with some descendants of East India merchants, and such a description wouldn't be too far off the mark.
  • I don't think this adversely affected my ability to judge, given that I ended up comfortably in the middle of a majority decision, but it was something I was more than passingly aware of nonetheless.

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