Something that’s passing happens very quickly. If you give someone a passing glance, you look so briefly in their direction that you barely see them.

Passing is one of those versatile words with many different uses. A passing reference is a light, brief mention of something, and a passing grade is one that’s high enough for you to pass a test. As a noun, passing often means “the end of something,” like the passing of an era — while the passing of a person means death. When you talk about something “in passing,” you mention it in a casual way.

Definitions of passing
  1. adjective

    lasting a very short time

    passing fancy”
    ephemeral, fugacious, short-lived, transient, transitory

    impermanent, temporary

    not permanent; not lasting
  2. adjective

    hasty and without attention to detail; not thorough

    passing glance”
    casual, cursory, perfunctory


    marked by lack of attention or consideration or forethought or thoroughness; not careful
  3. noun

    the end of something

    passing of winter”
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    type of:

    end, final stage, last

    the concluding parts of an event or occurrence

  4. noun

    euphemistic expressions for death

    “thousands mourned his
    departure, exit, expiration, going, loss, release
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    type of:

    death, decease, demise, expiry

    the event of dying or departure from life

  5. noun

    (American football) a play that involves one player throwing the ball to a teammate

    “the coach sent in a
    passing play on third and long”
    pass, passing game, passing play
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    show 5 types…
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    aerial, forward pass

    a pass to a receiver downfield from the passer
    lateral, lateral pass

    a pass to a receiver upfield from the passer
    spot pass

    a pass to a designated spot on the field; the receiver should arrive at that spot the same time the ball does
    flare, flare pass

    a short forward pass to a back who is running toward the sidelines
    screen pass

    a short forward pass in which the receiver is protected by a screen of blockers
    type of:

    football play

    (American football) a play by the offensive team

  6. adjective

    of advancing the ball by throwing it

    “a team with a good
    passing attack”
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    of advancing the ball by running

  7. noun

    success in satisfying a test or requirement

    pass, qualifying
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    failing, flunk

    failure to reach a minimum required performance
    type of:


    an attainment that is successful

  8. adjective

    allowing you to pass (e.g., an examination or inspection) satisfactorily

    passing grade”


    giving satisfaction
  9. noun

    the motion of one object relative to another

    passings can perturb the orbits of comets”
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    type of:

    motion, movement

    a natural event that involves a change in the position or location of something

  10. noun

    going by something that is moving in order to get in front of it

    “she drove but well but her reckless
    passing of every car on the road frightened me”
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    type of:


    a rearrangement in a different order

  11. noun

    a bodily reaction of changing from one place or stage to another

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    type of:

    reaction, response

    a bodily process occurring due to the effect of some antecedent stimulus or agent

  12. adverb

    to an extreme degree

Word Family