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What’s the Past Tense of Hide? Is it Hid or Hidden?

To hide is the present tense. Hid is the simple past, and hidden is the participle form of the verb hide.

Hide/hid/hidden in text conversation.
Hide/hid/hidden in text conversation.

What’s the past tense of “hide”? ‍

If we’re talking about the verb hide, which we obviously are because nouns don’t have tenses, then there are two past tense forms of hide (which describes the act of putting “someone/something where it cannot be seen or found”).

  • Hide is an irregular verb (i.e., its past verb tenses do not use “ed”);

  • Hid is the simple past tense conjugation, and had/have hidden uses the past participle form in the perfect/progressive tenses.

Forms of the verb hide

simpleI hideI hidI will hide
continuousI am hidingI was hidingI will be hiding
perfectI have hiddenI had hiddenI will have hidden
perfect continuousI have been hidingI had been hidingI will have been hiding
12 verb tenses of ‘hide‘.

Hide is in the present tense: I could not hide my joy at seeing him again.

Hid is the simple past: She hid her phone in the box.

Hidden is participle form of the verb: He had deliberately hidden the illness from his boss.

Some may recognize the Germanic ablaut, which is seen in hide/hid/hidden, along with numerous other irregular English verbs. The ablaut, (which, spoken aloud, sounds like a-blowt), is an inflection in a verb’s form to reflect tense or other aspect of grammar.

English is largely derived from the Western Germanic family of languages, and so while these verb forms might be irregular in English, evidently the Germanic languages had various ways to denote tense, count and other aspects of grammar (besides the standard verb conjugation of adding an –ed).

base verbpast tensepast participle
Irregular verbs (two past tense conjugations).

The ablaut pattern is in the, “systematic vowel alteration in the root of a word to indicate shades of meaning or tense”. The ablaut in its original German is literally translated to “off-sound”. We can hear it in ride, rode, ridden; bite, bit, bitten; write, wrote, written; and hide, hid, hidden.

When to use hid or hidden?

Past tense: He hid the letter in a drawer.

Past participle: No wonder he had kept his feelings hidden from her for so long.

The participle form of a verb, which is shown in the second sentence, uses the auxiliary verb had. This indicates that the participle form of the verb is in use, and not the simple past tense. Generally speaking, this is the simplest and most straightforward way to recognize the participle form of the verb is employed, and not the simple past tense. The simple past doesn’t use a helper verb since, unlike participles, the simple past is a whole tense and verb, which stands alone in sentences.

The use of the past participle form, hidden, also creates the passive voice, along with the perfect aspect in grammar. The perfect aspect is “a verb construction that describes events occurring in the past but linked to a later time, usually the present.” We often use the past perfect tense when we refer to more than one action or event that occurred in the past, and want to clarify the order in which these events took place. We form the past perfect tense by pairing the auxiliary verb, had, with the past participle form of the verb, e.g., hidden.

Examples of the word hide used in sentences

1. She hides herself away in her office all day.

2. I have never tried to hide the truth about my past.

3. She struggled to hide her disappointment.

4. I could not hide my joy at seeing him again.

5. His brusque manner hides a shy and sensitive nature.

Examples of the word hid used in sentences

1. She hid her phone in the box.

2. We hid from our pursuers in an empty house.

3. He hid the letter in a drawer.

4. He hid the book under his bed.

5. They hid me from the police in their attic.

Examples of the word hidden used in sentences

1. He had deliberately hidden the illness from his boss.

2. The little porch was hidden from view by a screen of yellow roses and Southern smilax.

3. Hypnotherapy can bring out previously hidden emotions.

4. The truth may well remain hidden forever.

5. No wonder he had kept his feelings hidden from her for so long.

Phrases with hide

To hide one’s face in shame To be so embarrassed so you cover your face.
Hide-and-seek Meant literally; you’re hiding; or playing the game of hide-and-seek.
To hide your lights under the bushel To hide your talent from others or the public.
Hide one’s head in the sandMeaning to feel embarrassed.
Have a thick hide/hide like a rhinocerosNot offend easily to criticism or insults.
Hide/hidden in plain sight Said when you can’t find something but it’s in front of your eyes, or figurative when something is extremely obvious.
Haven’t seen hide nor hair Cannot find a modicum of evidence of someone/something.
To tan someone’s hide/save your hide To berate or punish someone harshly.
You can run, but you can’t hide You can’t escape from your problems.

Origin of the verb hide

From etymology online on hide (v.):

Old English hydan (transitive and intransitive) “to hide, conceal; preserve; hide oneself; bury a corpse,” from West Germanic *hudjan.


Read about other confusing verbs!

Learn more about verbs


1. Harper Douglas, “Etymology of hide,” Online Etymology Dictionary, accessed January 14, 2023,‍

2. “Hide.” Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. 2015. Farlex, Inc 16 Jan. 2023

3. Nordquist, Richard. “Perfect Aspect of Verb Construction.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020

4. Wikipedia. 2023. “Indo-European ablaut.” Wikimedia Foundation. Last modified January 10, 2023.

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