Nouns (3)

previous button, previous, back
n. a button in a web browser or web page that takes you to the previous page or section when pressed

Verbs (0)

There are no items for this category

Adverbs (0)

There are no items for this category

Adjectives (5)

previous, old
adj. just preceding something else in time or order; "the previous owner"; "my old house was larger"
previous, late, former
adj. (used especially of persons) of the immediate past; "the former president"; "our late President is still very active"; "the previous occupant of the White House"

Fuzzynyms (19)

adj. preceding in time or order
prior, anterior
adj. earlier in time
prior, anterior
adj. earlier in time
adj. existing or coming before
adj. preceding in time, order, or significance
adj. of or near the head end or toward the front plane of a body
adj. of an earlier date; "back issues of the magazine"
primaeval, primordial, primeval, primal, aboriginal
adj. having existed from the beginning; in an earliest or original stage or state; "aboriginal forests"; "primal eras before the appearance of life on earth"; "the forest primeval"; "primordial matter"; "primordial forms of life"
adj. being or occurring at an advanced period of time or after a usual or expected time; "late evening"; "late 18th century"; "a late movie"; "took a late flight"; "had a late breakfast"
adj. denoting an action or event preceding or in preparation for something more important; designed to orient or acquaint with a situation before proceeding; "a preliminary investigation"
retiring, preceding, past
adj. of a person who has held and relinquished a position or office; "a retiring member of the board"

Synonyms (48)

adj. appearing earlier in the same text; "flaws in the above interpretation"
above-named, above-mentioned
adj. mentioned or named earlier in the same text
adj. especially of writing or speech; going before
prefatorial, prefatory, introductory
adj. serving as an introduction or preface
adj. (prefix) coming before or being preliminary or preparatory: "prehistoric"; "premedical"; "prepaid"
adj. preceding in time, order, or significance
adj. preceding and preparing for the study of medicine; "premedical courses"
propaedeutic, preparative, preparatory
adj. preceding and preparing for something; "preparatory steps"
agone, ago
adj. gone by; or in the past; "two years ago"; "`agone' is an archaic word for `ago'"
adj. belonging to times long past especially of the historical period before the fall of the Western Roman Empire; "ancient history"; "ancient civilizations such as those of the Etruscans and Sumerians"; "ancient Greece"
bypast, gone, foregone, departed, bygone
adj. well in the past; former; "bygone days"; "dreams of foregone times"; "sweet memories of gone summers"; "relics of a departed era"
medieval, knightly, chivalric
adj. characteristic of the time of chivalry and knighthood in the Middle Ages; "chivalric rites"; "the knightly years"
earliest, earlier
adj. (comparative and superlative of `early') more early than; most early; "a fashion popular in earlier times"; "his earlier work reflects the influence of his teacher"; "Verdi's earliest and most raucous opera"
former, early, other
adj. of the distant past: "the early inhabitants of Europe"; "former generations"; "in other times"
sometime, quondam, one-time, onetime, former, erstwhile, old
adj. belonging to some prior time; "erstwhile friend"; "our former glory"; "the once capital of the state"; "her quondam lover"
adj. (combining form) former: "an ex-president"
historical, historic
adj. belonging to the past; of what is important or famous in the past; "historic victories"; "historical (or historic) times"; "a historical character"
adj. immediately past; "last Thursday"; "the last chapter we read"
adj. belonging to some prior time; "erstwhile friend"; "our former glory"; "the once capital of the state"; "her quondam lover"
adj. long past; "olden days"
adj. recently past; "the other evening"
prehistorical, prehistoric
adj. belonging to or existing in times before recorded history; "prehistoric settlements"; "prehistoric peoples"
adj. at a specific prior time; "the then president"
ult, ultimo
adj. in or of the month preceding the present one; "your letter received on the 29th ult"

Antonyms (3)

next, following
adj. immediately following in time or order; "the following day"; "next in line"; "the next president"; "the next item on the list"
adj. yet to be or coming; "some future historian will evaluate him"


The past is the set of all events that occurred before a given point in time.[1] The past is contrasted with and defined by the present and the future. The concept of the past is derived from the linear fashion in which human observers experience time, and is accessed through memory and recollection. In addition, human beings have recorded the past since the advent of written language.[2] The first known use of the word "past" was in the fourteenth century; it developed as the past participle of the middle english verb passen meaning "to pass."[3]


In Grammar, actions are classified according to one of the following twelve verb tenses: past (past, past continuous, past perfect, or past perfect continuous), present (present, present continuous, present perfect, or present perfect continuous), or future (future, future continuous, future perfect, or future perfect continuous).[4] The past tense refers to actions that have already happened. For example, "she is walking" refers to a girl who is currently walking (present tense), while "she walked" refers to a girl who was walking before now (past tense).

The past continuous tense refers to actions that continued for a period of time, as in the sentence "she was walking," which describes an action that was still happening in a prior window of time to which a speaker is presently referring. The past perfect tense is used to describe actions that were already completed by a specific point in the past. For example, "she had walked" describes an action that took place in the past and was also completed in the past.

The past perfect continuous tense refers to an action that was happening up until a particular point in the past but was completed.[5] It is different from the past perfect tense because the emphasis of past perfect continuous verbs is not on the action having been completed by the present moment, but rather on its having taken place actively over a time period before another moment in the past. The verb tense used in the sentence "She had been walking in the park regularly before I met her" is past perfect continuous because it describes an action ("walking") that was actively happening before a time when something else in the past was happening (when "I met her").

Depending on its usage in a sentence, "past" can be described using a variety of terms. Synonyms for "past" as an adjective include, "former," "bygone," "earlier," "preceding," and "previous." Synonyms for "past" as a noun include, "history, "background," "life story," and "biography." Synonyms of "past" as a preposition include, "in front of," "beyond," "by," and "in excess of."[6]

Other Uses

The word "past" can also be used to describe the offices of those who have previously served in an organization, group, or event such as, "past president," or, "past champions."[7] "Past" can also refer to something or someone being at or in a position that is further than a particular point.[8] For instance, in the sentence, "I live on Fielding Road, just past the train station," the word "past" is used to describe a location (the speaker's residence) beyond a certain point (the train station). Alternatively, the sentence, "He ran past us at full speed," utilizes the concept of the past to describe the position of someone ("He") that is further than the speaker.

The "past" is also used to define a time that is a certain number of minutes before or after a particular hour, as in "We left the party at half past twelve."[9] People also use "past" to refer to being beyond a particular biological age or phase of being, as in, "The boy was past the age of needing a babysitter," or, "I'm past caring about that problem."[10] The "past" is commonly used to refer to history, either generally or with regards to specific time periods or events, as in, "Past monarchs had absolute power to determine the law in contrast to many European Kings and Queens of today."

Nineteenth-century British author Charles Dickens[11] created one of the best-known fictional personifications of the "past" in his short book, "A Christmas Carol." In the story, the Ghost of Christmas Past is an apparition that shows the main character, a cold-hearted and tight-fisted man named Ebenezer Scrooge, vignettes from his childhood and early adult life to teach him that joy does not necessarily come from wealth.[12]

Fields of Study

The past is the object of study within such fields as history, memory, flashback, recollection, archaeology, archaeoastronomy, chronology, geology, historical geology, historical linguistics, law, ontology, paleontology, paleobotany, paleoethnobotany, palaeogeography, paleoclimatology, terminology and cosmology.References[edit]

  1. ^ "past" (web article). Retrieved 25 June2018.
  2. ^ Christian, David. "Record Keeping and History: How We Chronicle the Past" (web article). Khan Academy. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  3. ^ Merriam-Webster (n.d.). "Past" (Web). Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  4. ^ (no author). "Verb tenses". English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  5. ^ (no author). "Verb tenses". English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  6. ^ (no author) (n.d.). "past" (Web). English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  7. ^ "past" (Web). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  8. ^ "past" (Web). n.d. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  9. ^ "past" (Web). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  10. ^ "past" (Web). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  11. ^ Collins, Philip (5 June 2018). "Charles Dickens" (Web). Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  12. ^ The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (6 June 2014). "A Christmas Carol" (Web). Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
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