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

As a consequence, the most stable founding teams give each collaborator authority over a specific area that suits his or her passions and expertise. Noam Wasserman, WSJ, "The Life Lessons We Can Learn From Successful Startups," 25 Nov. 2018 Skilled as a photographer and an avid sailor, her passions took her in fresh directions. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "15 Reasons Why Daria Werbowy Remains the Ultimate Model Muse," 22 Nov. 2018 And because plenty of Twilight fans were so interested in their codependent passion, publishers started marketing books that featured similar relationships as a selling point. Constance Grady, Vox, "Reckoning with Twilight, 10 years later," 21 Nov. 2018 Mehdi defined three dynamics that shape Microsoft’s strategy: Life and work are blurring; there is a constant battle for attention with digital devices; and people want to pursue their passions. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft launches next-gen Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop, Surface Studio and more," 2 Oct. 2018 Ocean Chic Boutique is a must-visit, and the rare finds at RJ Coins & Jewelry are worth a looks-see, even if that's not your passion. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips From Boston," 9 Aug. 2018 Her career as an actress was catapulted by the success of the award-winning show, and even earned her direct praise from Beyoncé, but Serayah continued to feed her true longtime passion: making music. Regina Cho, Billboard, "'Empire' Star Serayah Talks About Receiving Praise From Beyonce, Premieres New Video 'So Good'," 13 July 2018 The challenge, in its simplest form, is encouraging more kids to play and nurturing their passion and skills from a young age. Rich Campbell,, "Missing World Cup can't be in vain for U.S. men's national team," 13 July 2018 Supporters say the show protects First and Second Amendment rights and allows like-minded people to share their passions and teach others about firearm safety. Phil Diehl,, "Protesters to return with weekend gun show," 13 July 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

9 Dec 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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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).


a knickknack or trinket

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