Definitions

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

  • adj. Moving by; going past: The child waved to the passing cars.
  • adj. Of brief duration; transitory: a passing fancy.
  • adj. Cursory or superficial; casual: a passing glance.
  • adj. Allowing one to pass a test, course of study, inspection, or examination; satisfactory: a passing grade.
  • adj. Archaic Very or great; surpassing: "'Tis a passing shame” ( Shakespeare).
  • adv. Very; surpassingly: "I will mention only one particular aspect of the current mess because ... this one is surely something new and passing strange” ( Walker Percy).
  • n. The act of one that passes or the fact of having passed: the passing of another summer.
  • n. A place where or a means by which one can pass.
  • n. Death.
  • idiom in passing While going by; incidentally.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. Present participle of pass.
  • n. A form of juggling where several people pass props between each other, usually clubs or rings.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of one who, or that which, passes; the act of going by or away.
  • adj. Relating to the act of passing or going; going by, beyond, through, or away; departing.
  • adj. Exceeding; surpassing, eminent.
  • adv. Exceedingly; excessively; surpassingly

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of moving on or by; also, the act of departing; dying.
  • n. Passage; ratification; enactment.
  • n. A gold or silver thread or fine cord produced by twisting a flat and very small ribbon of the metal spirally around a silk thread. Passing is used in embroidery, in couched work, and the like, laid on the foundation and sewed to it with fine silk thread.
  • That is or are now happening; current: as, passing events; the passing hour.
  • Cursory; such as is done, given, etc., while one passes: as, a passing glance.
  • Fleeting; fading away.
  • Exceeding; surpassing; transcendent; egregious; eminent; extraordinary.
  • Surpassingly; wonderfully: exceedingly; very.
  • Exceeding; beyond; over.

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

  • adj. hasty and without attention to detail; not thorough
  • n. success in satisfying a test or requirement
  • adj. of advancing the ball by throwing it
  • n. the end of something
  • n. the motion of one object relative to another
  • n. a bodily reaction of changing from one place or stage to another
  • adj. allowing you to pass (e.g., an examination or inspection) satisfactorily
  • adj. lasting a very short time
  • n. (American football) a play that involves one player throwing the ball to a teammate
  • adv. to an extreme degree
  • n. euphemistic expressions for death
  • n. going by something that is moving in order to get in front of it

Etymologies

From pass +‎ -ing. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And now one had touched him so completely that a mere glance over her shoulder without a word passing between them had made him follow her.

    Surrender the Dark

  • Mentioned in passing is the kids 'multi-racial background: Dad is black, mom was white.

    'Pyramid': It's another towering Riordan tale of mythology

  • And yes, accusing someone of "intergalactic war-mongering" even in passing is one and only one thing:

    First Look: G.I. Joe's Scarlett Revealed! « FirstShowing.net

  • But like David Lynch and Jack Kerouac, Callahan, whom I only know in passing, is grossly misunderstood by his fans.

    GreenCine Daily: PIFF Dispatch. 4.

  • Some guy on the radio said so, obviously all of my problems are cured and all of that social pressure he mentioned in passing is miraculously lifted!

    ATTENTION LADIES!! « Love | Peace | Ohana

  • To Polly, what he reveals in passing is a world where drunken riot was frequent, and sensibility about what crime is serious was very different.

    "a golden age of law and order"

  • I only knew Bill in passing from the pre-Outpost days when he held court at noon on Fridays at the Elks. He was a natural leader as well as a civic leader and a take charge kind of guy.

    R.I.P.

  • Ensign Rusconi had relieved Wong without a word passing between them, and the young woman now held the da Vinci steady as it hurtled back through Federation space at warp 9.6.

    Creative Couplings

  • Without a word passing among them, Ivan then took a position at the head, Udele the torso and Jen the legs.

    Body of Knowledge

  • Yet we had no choice but to continue, and without a word passing between us we began to walk, myself in front with one of the rifles, then Sebastian, followed by the three Kuna.

    The Serpent and the Rainbow

Comments

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  • Probably true. I was actually unsure. Note that my examples can be construed either way.

    August 21, 2008

  • It's passing strange, but I do like the phrase "passing strange." :-)

    August 21, 2008

  • Really? Good to know. Apparently, it had the opposite meaning in the past (no. 5).

    August 21, 2008

  • Useful as a modifier of intensity: "passing strange that the moon should be purple to-night!" "That's passing early for Joe to be awake."

    August 21, 2008

  • surpassingly

    August 2, 2007