Clinton gets passes for everything.

Source: Trump voters stay loyal: 'I am not voting for him to be pope' on CNN Money US

2 Answers 2


This is "pass" in the sense of the OED's pass n 4, definition 7g:

g. An explicit or implicit permission, licence, or authorization to engage in something without (legal) conditions or restrictions. Freq. in negative contexts.

So "gets passes for everything" means "is permitted to do everything", or more specifically, "is not restricted or censured for anything".

  • In other words, imagine I illegally cross the street in order to pull a child out of traffic. A police officer who sees me break the law in order to help a child might decide I should not be punished. This is called "getting a pass", or "letting it slide". In this example, I get a pass because the police officer supports my actions. In your example, Clinton gets a pass for political reasons.
    – user11628
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 20:00
  • @MikeKozar: yes, but I dont think I'd ever use the phrase "getting a pass" in that sort of case where there is a genuine violation. It's more in the vague metaphorical sense of political life.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 21:58

There, "gets passes" means "is not held accountable".


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