Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. In passing; by the way; incidentally.
  • adv. Used in reference to a move in chess in which a pawn that has just completed an initial advance to its fourth rank is captured by an opponent pawn as if it had only moved to its third rank.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. in passing; incidentally; by the way
  • n. A move in which a pawn captures an opposing pawn on the same rank immediately after the latter moved two squares from its initial position as if it had captured it while the latter was passing through.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • In passing; in the course of any procedure

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • While passing; by the way: often used as introductory to an incidental remark or a sudden disconnected thought.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. incidentally; in the course of doing something else
  • n. (chess) a chess pawn that is moved two squares can be captured by an opponent's pawn commanding the square that was passed

Etymologies

French : en, in + passant, passing.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French en passantĀ ("in passing") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Still, I must not hide the circumstance that neither Liszt nor Karasowski mentions Dobrzynski as one of Chopin's friends, and the even more significant circumstance that he is only mentioned twice and en passant in Chopin's letters.

    Frederic Chopin as a Man and Musician

Comments

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  • No, you're right. The alternate term for this move is known as "pawn in passing".

    August 13, 2007

  • Is it also more generally used for "in passing", or am I making that up?

    August 12, 2007

  • In chess, when your pawn is on the 5th rank, and the pawn on the adjacent file moves from the 7th rank to the 5th rank, your pawn came move diagonally passed your opponent's, capturing it.

    February 21, 2007