past Definition

  • 1gone by in time and no longer existing
  • 2denoting something that has happened or existed before now

Using past: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "past" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The past year has been difficult for me.

  • Example

    He regrets his past mistakes.

  • Example

    I can't change the past.

  • Example

    She is living in the past and can't move on.

past Synonyms and Antonyms

Idioms Using past

  • to forget about something that happened in the past and move on


    It's time to put your past mistakes behind you and start fresh.

  • something that has happened in the past and cannot be changed or undone


    I know we had our differences in the past, but let's just let bygones be bygones and consider it water under the bridge.

  • to focus too much on things that have happened in the past and not enough on the present or future


    She needs to stop living in the past and start thinking about what she wants to do with her life now.

Phrases with past

  • at a time before now


    In the past, people used to write letters instead of sending emails.

  • something that no longer exists or is no longer relevant


    With the advent of smartphones, flip phones are now a thing of the past.

  • what has happened in the past sets the stage for what is to come in the future


    The company's history of innovation suggests that they will continue to be a leader in their industry; after all, the past is prologue.

Origins of past

from Old English 'paest', meaning 'passed, having gone by'


Summary: past in Brief

The term 'past' [pæst] refers to something that has already happened or existed before now. It can denote anything from a previous year to a regretted mistake, as in 'He regrets his past mistakes.' 'Past' extends into phrases like 'in the past,' and idioms like 'water under the bridge,' denoting something that cannot be changed or undone. It also includes 'live in the past,' which means to focus too much on things that have happened in the past.

How do native speakers use this expression?