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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Prior to joining Oak Hills, Hemmelgarn stepped away and tried a new career in the business world, only to realize that his true passion was high school athletics. Adam Baum,, "Oak Hills, Turpin high schools name new athletic directors," 12 July 2018 Despite the fact that Blomkamp seems unable to escape the shadow cast by his first major work, his passion has never been a question. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why 'Robocop' and Neill Blomkamp Need Each Other," 11 July 2018 Alongside the usual barbecues and fireworks, all eyes were on Twitter user Rosey Blair, an actress and photographer from Dallas with a passion for plus-size fashion. Kathryn Lindsay,, "There's No Such Thing As A "Good" Viral Moment Anymore," 10 July 2018 Browning has other interests aside from athletics, with a passion for both music and bass fishing. Melanie Savage, Courant Community, "RHAM Track And Field Athlete Finishes Strong Season," 9 July 2018 Anna Crume stood in front of a room full of entrepreneurs and spoke with passion about her business, BlueWall Virtual Reality. Megan Henry, Indianapolis Star, "How 1 Million Cups is helping Indianapolis' start-ups grow," 6 July 2018 Joe Ortiz, who was an assistant at Higley, is taking over with passion to spare. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Countdown: 50 things to watch for in the 2018 Arizona high school football season," 29 June 2018 For all but those with the greatest passion for coffee, visits to farms only demand two days and two or three nights. Lauren Mowery, USA TODAY, "Costa Rican coffee, from rural farms to Starbucks' visitor center," 26 June 2018 Kwyn's in a constant pursuit of avenues and platforms to use to infect other people with her passion for the city, specifically black teens and young adults. Matt Harvey, Chicago Reader, "Chicagoans / Poetry / Race South-side poet Kwynology wants people to fall back in love with Chicago at her open mike," 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about passion

Phrases Related to passion

the Passion

with a passion

Statistics for passion

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for passion

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on passion

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


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!