- 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.
“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.”
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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