American English

Definition of past noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1the past [singular] the time that has gone by; things that happened in an earlier time I used to go there often in the past. the recent/distant past She looked back on the past without regret. Writing letters seems to be a thing of the past.
  2. 2[countable] a person's past life or career We don't know anything about his past. They say she has a “past” (= bad things in her past life that she wishes to keep secret).
  3. 3the past [singular] (grammar) = past tense
  4. Idioms
    a blast from the past (informal)
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    a person or thing from your past that you see, hear, meet, etc. again in the present
    the (dim and) distant past
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    a long time ago stories from the distant past In the distant past this land was covered in forests.
    live in the past
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    to behave as though society, etc. has not changed, when in fact it has
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: past