im·​pas·​sive | \(ˌ)im-ˈpa-siv \

Definition of impassive 

1a archaic : unsusceptible to pain

b : unsusceptible to physical feeling : insensible

c : unsusceptible to or destitute of emotion : apathetic

2 : giving no sign of feeling or emotion : expressionless

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from impassive

impassively adverb
impassiveness noun
impassivity \ˌim-​ˌpa-​ˈsi-​və-​tē \ 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

In the executive boxes, even Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, ordinarily so impassive, twitched the corners of his mouth in what could, just about, be recognized as a smile. Rory Smith, New York Times, "For Russia, Five Goals and One Big Sigh of Relief," 14 June 2018 Winslow, 34, remained impassive during the court proceeding and has been held in custody since his recent arrest. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, "Kellen Winslow Jr. faces multiple rape, kidnapping charges, bail set at $2 million," 12 July 2018 Henri van Breda appeared impassive as a judge sentenced him to three life sentences for the grisly killings of parents Martin and Teresa and brother Rudi in Stellenbosch, a scenic town in a wine-growing area near Cape Town. Washington Post, "South African gets life in prison for ax murders of family," 7 June 2018 Her face was completely impassive and disconnected, with a small voice. Fox News, "Clinic rescues hearts, and minds, of young Yazidis abused by ISIS," 21 June 2018 Usually dimly lit, for this show some of the lights have been turned up, the better to see three painted pillars and many more works on paper by Xu, which join the 12 impassive wooden columns that Ando placed in the room permanently. Lori Waxman,, "Xu Longsen's artistic reminder of the vastness of nature," 14 June 2018 At first Jha’s impassive presence casts a pall over the brothers’ rambunctiousness. Lily Janiak,, "Marin Theatre Company’s ‘Straight White Men’ don’t have it so easy," 21 June 2018 Henri van Breda appeared impassive on Thursday as a judge sentenced him to three life sentences for the grisly killings in Stellenbosch, a scenic town in a wine-growing area. Fox News, "South African gets life in prison for ax murders of family," 7 June 2018 Smiling, sobbing, glamorous, haunted, impassive, enigmatic and -- in the end -- crushed. Marc Freeman,, "Appeals court again denies Dalia Dippolito's bid to leave prison during appeal," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impassive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of impassive

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impassive

Statistics for impassive

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impassive

The first known use of impassive was in 1605

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for impassive



English Language Learners Definition of impassive

: not showing emotion


im·​pas·​sive | \im-ˈpa-siv \

Kids Definition of impassive

: not feeling or showing emotion an impassive face

Other Words from impassive

impassively adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on impassive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impassive

Spanish Central: Translation of impassive

Nglish: Translation of impassive for Spanish Speakers

Comments on impassive

What made you want to look up impassive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!