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Reiko07
Posted: Friday, May 29, 2020 8:42:45 PM

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come to pass
​★ (old use) to happen
How did such a disaster come to pass?

The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Question: What does the "pass" in the idiom "come to pass" mean?

Wilmar (USA) 1M
Posted: Friday, May 29, 2020 8:50:25 PM

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It's an idiom. You just need to understand what the idiom means.

from TFD idioms
come to pass
to happen; to take place. And when do you think all these good things will come to pass? Do you think it will really come to pass?
See also: come, pass

come to pass
To happen. The phrase often indicates that what is happening is the result of a course of events.
Our only hope now is that these dire predictions will not come to pass, but can be avoided somehow.
When it finally came to pass, it almost felt like a letdown.
See also: come, pass



tautophile
Posted: Friday, May 29, 2020 9:30:32 PM
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There is a famous but anonymous couplet:

The steed bit his master. How came this to pass?
He heard the good pastor cry, "All flesh is grass."

That is, the horse--which of course eats grass--heard the pastor quoting the Bible (Isaiah 40:6 in the Old Testament, and 1 Peter 1:24 in the New). The verse from 1 Peter is part of the text of the second movement, "Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras", in Brahms's German Requiem.
tautophile
Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2020 1:07:31 AM
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There is a famous but anonymous couplet:

The steed bit his master. How came this to pass?
He heard the good pastor cry, "All flesh is grass."

That is, the horse--which of course eats grass--heard the pastor quoting from the Bible (Isaiah 40:6 in the Old Testament, and 1 Peter 1:24 in the New), probably at a funeral or at a graveside, and acted on what it heard. The verse from 1 Peter is part of the text of the second movement, "Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras", of Brahms's German Requiem.
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2020 12:50:36 PM

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Reiko07 wrote:
come to pass
​★ (old use) to happen
How did such a disaster come to pass?

The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Question: What does the "pass" in the idiom "come to pass" mean?


My attempt to explain would include the idea that time "passes". As it passes, events come and go, they "pass" by in the flow of time. Therefore, things "come to pass". That is, they come into existence, or happen, then they pass, or become completed, which leads to another saying, "this, too, shall pass", meaning all of this goes away. It's usually used with bad, or negative, experiences.
Reiko07
Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2020 5:13:27 PM

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Joined: 10/30/2018
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tautophile wrote:
"All flesh is grass."

Thanks. 😊 How would you interpret that?


FounDit wrote:
come to pass

My attempt to explain would include the idea that time "passes". As it passes, events come and go, they "pass" by in the flow of time. Therefore, things "come to pass". That is, they come into existence, or happen, then they pass, or become completed, which leads to another saying, "this, too, shall pass", meaning all of this goes away. It's usually used with bad, or negative, experiences.

Thanks. 😊

The following sentences motivated me to start this thread:

Things have come to such a pass that a qualified student can still get into some boarding schools in time for the September term.
FRAZE·IT

I never thought things would come to such a pass as this.
The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


FounDit
Posted: Sunday, May 31, 2020 12:10:23 PM

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Reiko07 wrote:
tautophile wrote:
"All flesh is grass."

Thanks. 😊 How would you interpret that?


FounDit wrote:
come to pass

My attempt to explain would include the idea that time "passes". As it passes, events come and go, they "pass" by in the flow of time. Therefore, things "come to pass". That is, they come into existence, or happen, then they pass, or become completed, which leads to another saying, "this, too, shall pass", meaning all of this goes away. It's usually used with bad, or negative, experiences.

Thanks. 😊

The following sentences motivated me to start this thread:

Things have come to such a pass that a qualified student can still get into some boarding schools in time for the September term.
FRAZE·IT

I never thought things would come to such a pass as this.
The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

I've never heard it used in this way..."come to such a pass". It sounds odd to me.
Reiko07
Posted: Sunday, May 31, 2020 6:45:01 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/30/2018
Posts: 1,170
Neurons: 5,920
FounDit wrote:

I've never heard it used in this way..."come to such a pass". It sounds odd to me.

Thanks. Does the following sentence sound natural to you?

Things have come to a pretty pass when a referee can no longer be trusted.
Cambridge Dictionary

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, May 31, 2020 8:03:18 PM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi!

Amongst all its other meanings, "pass" (as a noun) means "a situation" or "a condition".

It is nowadays rarely used except in the phrases "such a pass" and "a pretty pass" - and "a pretty pass" is dying out. They were both in most common use about 120 years ago.

Things have reached such a pass that you can't even vivsit your parents!
Pubs are shut down! I never believed things would come to such a pass in my lifetime.
I have to get to work, but there are no buses. That's a pretty pass.

pass n
5. A condition or situation, often critical in nature; a predicament: contract negotiations that had come to an emotional pass.
- American Heritage
39. a state of affairs or condition, especially a bad or difficult one (esp in the phrase 'a pretty pass') - Collins English Dictionary

******************
"Come to pass" is a combination of two "not very common" meanings. They're not really "uncommon" but they would not be the first definition you'd think of.

come v
11. to arrive at or be brought into a particular state or condition: you will soon come to grief; the new timetable comes into effect on Monday.
Collins English Dictionary
6.c. To move or be brought to a particular position: The convoy came to an abrupt halt. American Heritage


to pass v
12. To happen; take place: wanted to know what had passed at the meeting.
American Heritage
9. (intr) to take place or happen: what passed at the meeting? Collins English Dictionary

Combining the two - "It came to pass" is equivalent to "it moved into a situation such that it happened"
Reiko07
Posted: Monday, June 1, 2020 7:28:55 AM

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Thanks, Drag0n. 😊

thar
Posted: Monday, June 1, 2020 10:21:01 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
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Yes, you mostly see it in prose writing or fables written like an epic story.


eg
Quote:

Once upon a time, long, long ago a king and queen ruled over a distant land. The queen was kind and lovely and all the people of the realm adored her. The only sadness in the queen's life was that she wished for a child but did not have one.
...
Now it came to pass that a prince entered these woods and happened onto the dwarves' house, where he sought shelter for the night . He saw the coffin on the mountain with beautiful Snow White in it, and he read what was written on it with golden letters.


Reiko07
Posted: Monday, June 1, 2020 5:43:06 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

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Reiko07 wrote:
Thanks, thar. 😊

tautophile
Posted: Monday, June 1, 2020 10:07:08 PM
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There's also the first verse of the 2nd chapter of the Gospel of Luke (KJV): "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed." This verse is one of the reasons the term "to come to pass", meaning "occur", remains common in English.
Roxanne Royal
Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 8:30:01 AM

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It generally but not literally means went by, or change.
thar
Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 3:35:46 PM

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'Came to pass' as happened or reached that state is easier to see in English if you think of the French or Spanish

Please forgive any mistakes, my French is not too good and my Spanish non-existent, but even I know how to be confused:
What's happening?
Qu'est-ce qui se passe?
Qué pasa?
Or something like that, yes?

In modern English the verb 'to happen' has taken over that area. But partially at least (there was a word happen in Old English before Norse came and influenced Middle English) it had a different meaning in the past. As in mayhap, perhaps, happenstance. At that point 'come to pass' was the standard word choice, presumably.
(happ n
Old Norse - good luck
Descendants
Icelandic: happ
Faroese: happ
Norn: happ
→ Middle English: happe, happ
English: hap)
But then 'happen' became the way to express events, and the 'came to pass' was retained only as prose.
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