[Python-3000] Derivation of "pass" in Python (was Re: PEP: Supporting Non-ASCII Identifiers)

Phillip J. Eby pje at telecommunity.com
Tue May 1 18:45:43 CEST 2007

At 06:14 PM 5/1/2007 +0200, Martin v. Löwis wrote:
>I still don't understand why the "no operation" statement is called
>"pass" - it's not the opposite of "fail", and seems to have no
>relationship to "can you pass me the butter, please?".

Actually, it does, in the sense that to "pass" on something means to give 
up the chance to take it.  So, if butter is being passed around the dinner 
table, one who chooses not to take it, but passes it on to the next person, 
is said to be "passing on" (i.e. conceding the opportunity).

Thus, when someone is offered something, they may say, "I'll pass", meaning 
they are declining to act.  Ergo, to "pass" in Python is to decline to give 
up the opportunity to act.

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