I am not denying it also has the meanings others have suggested, but this is the meaning with which I'm most familiar. Where I come from, to pass the time of day means to stop a minute and chat.I've always believed that to 'pass the time of day' means to say 'hallo', in other words, to greet someone. 'To pass the time' is quite different and is used as Molot says, but does not make any reference to 'day'.
I've lived most of my life in northern California. I don't know whether people say this in LA where I am now. I'll have to start paying attention. It is equally interesting to me that not everybody knows this usage.I'm always glad to learn new phrases. What part of the US are you from, Cagey? I honestly have never heard 'pass the time of day' used in that manner.
I agree. It would not raise an eyebrow if someone said that in my world.Where I come from, to pass the time of day means to stop a minute and chat.
"On my walk, I stopped to pass the time of day with my neighbor." We had some polite and friendly conversation about the weather or her family or something like that.
I'm with you GWB, and I'm equally bemused.I agree with Cagey -- to "pass the time of day" means to engage in pleasant, idle, social conversation. I had always assumed that this was a common figure of speech for everyone; I am surprised to find out that there are other English speakers unfamiliar with it.