nounThe American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
A verb tense used to express an action or a condition that occurred in or during the past. For example, in While she was sewing, he read aloud, was sewing and read are in the past tense.