• A master key. 
  • A picture or photograph simply mounted between a piece of glass and a sheet of cardboard (or two pieces of glass) stuck together at the edges with adhesive tape.

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Example Sentences

“Hotel housekeepers may use a passe-partout to open any guest room in the building.”

“Only one of the security guards has a passe-partout to open all the doors.”

“I want to frame the family reunion photo in a passe-partout.”

Word Origin

French, late 17th century

Why this word?

In French, “passe-partout” translates to “passes everywhere,” which makes a “passe-partout” far more literal in its home language than a similar English term, “skeleton key.” Someone with a “passe-partout” can literally pass anywhere.

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