im·​pas·​sive (ˌ)im-ˈpa-siv How to pronounce impassive (audio)
: giving no sign of feeling or emotion : expressionless
: unsusceptible to or destitute of emotion : apathetic
: unsusceptible to physical feeling : insensible
archaic : unsusceptible to pain
impassively adverb
impassiveness noun
impassivity noun
Choose the Right Synonym for impassive

impassive, stoic, phlegmatic, apathetic, stolid mean unresponsive to something that might normally excite interest or emotion.

impassive stresses the absence of any external sign of emotion in action or facial expression.

met the news with an impassive look

stoic implies an apparent indifference to pleasure or especially to pain often as a matter of principle or self-discipline.

was resolutely stoic even in adversity

phlegmatic implies a temperament or constitution hard to arouse.

a phlegmatic man unmoved by tears

apathetic may imply a puzzling or deplorable indifference or inertness.

charitable appeals met an apathetic response

stolid implies a habitual absence of interest, responsiveness, or curiosity.

stolid workers wedded to routine

Examples of impassive in a Sentence

Her face remained impassive throughout the trial. she remained impassive as the officers informed her of her son's death
Recent Examples on the Web The man remained impassive, eyes closed, staring up. Hazlitt, 30 Aug. 2023 Rafael Viñoly cut more or less the perfect figure of the New York City architect — serious-minded but amiable with an indulgent smile that could give way to a cool, impassive stare. Ian Volner, Curbed, 6 Mar. 2023 Lillard’s face, as ever, was impassive. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2023 The officers looked on, impassive. Richard Read, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Jan. 2021 Rondon, several inches shorter than Roosevelt and dozens of pounds lighter, posed almost nonchalantly in his simple olive military garb, his hands thrust into his jacket pockets and an impassive expression on his lean, copper-colored face. Larry Rohter, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Apr. 2023 Anastasia is equally impassive when the discussion turns to her dramatic departure due to the whole Right Reasons™/Instagram followers situation. Kristen Baldwin,, 15 Mar. 2023 Her face was utterly impassive. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, 8 Sep. 2022 In the decade since the Tesla Model S first appeared, car companies have struggled to address what customers and critics have claimed is a disconcerting quiet in electric vehicles—an impassive, appliance-like response that psychologists might call a flat affect. Dan Neil, WSJ, 16 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'impassive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 2c

Time Traveler
The first known use of impassive was in 1605

Dictionary Entries Near impassive

Cite this Entry

“Impassive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


im·​pas·​sive (ˈ)im-ˈpas-iv How to pronounce impassive (audio)
: not feeling or not showing emotion
impassively adverb
impassivity noun

More from Merriam-Webster on impassive

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