pas·​sion | \ˈpa-shən \

Definition of passion 

1 often capitalized

a : the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death

b : an oratorio based on a gospel narrative of the Passion Bach's St. Matthew Passion

2 obsolete : suffering

3 : the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces moldable and not moldable … and many other passions of matter— Francis Bacon

4a(1) : emotion his ruling passion is greed

(2) passions plural : the emotions as distinguished from reason a study of the passions

b : intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction with enough passion to make a great poet— W. B. Yeats

c : an outbreak of anger a crime of passion

5a : ardent affection : love He had never felt such passion for any woman but her.

b : a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept a passion for chess a passion for opera

c : sexual desire a look of passion in her face

d : an object of desire or deep interest

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Other Words from passion

passionless \ ˈpa-​shən-​ləs \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for passion

passion, fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, zeal mean intense emotion compelling action. passion applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable. was a slave to his passions fervor implies a warm and steady emotion. read the poem aloud with great fervor ardor suggests warm and excited feeling likely to be fitful or short-lived. the ardor of their honeymoon soon faded enthusiasm applies to lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity. never showed much enthusiasm for sports zeal implies energetic and unflagging pursuit of an aim or devotion to a cause. preaches with fanatical zeal

synonyms see in addition feeling

Examples of passion in a Sentence

If anyone had asked me what my passions were, I would have said building fires, climbing cliffs, going on long hikes in the woods … — Paul Theroux, Newsweek, 6 Aug. 2001 The gods themselves had passions and frailties—these are the stuff of the myths. — James Salter, New Yorker, 4 Aug. 1997 The skin is dry and as chaste and beautiful as old paper. But I remember the passion inspired by those fingers, their gifted, sly, infinitely provocative caresses and gestures. — Richard Selzer, Discover, February 1994 Polo was the Khan's passion. He cared for little else, and when his armies moved, he moved with them, because he couldn't stand to be without the game. — Hunter S. Thompson, Rolling Stone, 15 Dec. 1994 Everyone could see the passion in his approach to the work. a controversy that has stirred passions in Congress Her performance is full of passion and originality. She spoke with passion about preserving the building. The crime was committed in a fit of passion. Music has always been his passion. She developed a passion for opera. a student with a passion for literature
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Recent Examples on the Web

The room is rarely filled with people, and more rarely still with passion and rancor. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "David Beckham confronts his biggest fight yet to (finally) bring MLS soccer to Miami," 12 July 2018 So in 2008, at the age of 19, Berry picked up the hammer throw for the first time—and quickly discovered an unparalleled passion and aptitude for the sport. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Olympic Hammer Thrower Gwen Berry Shares Her Intense Training Regimen," 12 July 2018 This Labor Day weekend, Harley-Davidson is celebrating 115 years of freedom, passion and the open road with an extended party in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from Aug. 29 to Sep. 2. Harley Davidson Motor Company, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "How to access more at Harley’s 115th party," 12 July 2018 His young and diverse side has reinvigorated the country's enthusiasm, passion and obsession with the game; and the victory in the penalty shootout could have, rather, marked a change in direction for the team, and England as a country., "England United: How Gareth Southgate's Young Lions Have Brought a Country Together," 11 July 2018 And yet, mechanical watches are still very much around, garnering the majority of horology enthusiasts’ passion and attention. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Wired headphones are becoming the mechanical watches of personal audio," 7 July 2018 But for many people for whom travel is an integral part of life, continuing to do just that can be a means to keep up normalcy—and maintain their passions and hobbies. Cassie Shortsleeve, Condé Nast Traveler, "What It’s Really Like to Travel With Alzheimer’s," 28 June 2018 Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 / 1:17 Elliott Sadler says fans will love Dale Earnhardt Jr. as a broadcaster Advertisement Driver Elliott Sadler says Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s passion and knowledge for NASCAR will shine during his TV broadcasts. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "'Just be yourself.' Here's how Dale Earnhardt Jr. prepared for his new NASCAR job.," 28 June 2018 For Chris Evert, who retired in 1989 with 18 Grand Slam singles titles, passion and integrity are the key elements of achievement—in every stage of her life. Vogue, "“Keep ’Em Guessing”: Chris Evert’s Rise to Tennis Domination," 25 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of passion

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for passion

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin passion-, passio suffering, being acted upon, from Latin pati to suffer — more at patient

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Statistics for passion

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for passion

The first known use of passion was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for passion



English Language Learners Definition of passion

: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something

: a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way

: a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone


pas·​sion | \ˈpa-shən \

Kids Definition of passion

1 : a strong feeling or emotion He spoke with passion.

2 : an object of someone's love, liking, or desire Art is my passion.

3 : strong liking or desire : love She has a passion for music.


pas·​sion | \ˈpa-shən \

Legal Definition of passion 

: intense, driving, or overpowering feeling or emotion especially : any violent or intense emotion that prevents reflection — see also heat of passion

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