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past (adj.)

early 14c., "done with, over, existing no more," a variant of passed, past participle of passen "go by" (see pass (v.)). Meaning "gone by, belonging to a time previous to this" is from mid-14c. The grammatical sense of "expressing past action or state" is from 1520s; past participle is recorded from 1798; past tense from 1813. As a preposition, "beyond in time or position," c. 1300, from the adjective.

past (n.)

c. 1500, "times gone by, the time that has preceded the present," from past (adj.). Meaning "a past life, career, or history" is attested by 1836.

The past is the only dead thing that smells sweet,
The only sweet thing that is not also fleet.
[Edward Thomas, from "Early one morning"]

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