past participle


: a participle that typically expresses completed action, that is traditionally one of the principal parts of the verb, and that is traditionally used in English in the formation of perfect tenses in the active voice and of all tenses in the passive voice

Example Sentences

The verbs “thrown” in “the ball has been thrown” and “raised” in “many hands were raised” are past participles.
Recent Examples on the Web And could this past participle of the verb to do be considered an emotion? Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Jan. 2022 Investigators also found other examples of her writing with the same past participle mistake. New York Times, 20 Nov. 2021 Pena Nieto used an incorrect past participle sometimes used by children in a speech in Paris at the offices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Washington Post, 12 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'past participle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1798, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of past participle was in 1798

Dictionary Entries Near past participle

Cite this Entry

“Past participle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

past participle

: a participle that expresses completed action and that is one of the principal parts of the verb
"raised" in "Many hands were raised" and "thrown" in "The ball has been thrown" are past participles

More from Merriam-Webster on past participle

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