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

His passion in life was Golfing, good cuisine and most of all the love for his dogs Tessie and Bella. Hartford Courant,, "Richard Gomes," 13 July 2018 His great passion was Modernist 20th century music. Mark Swed,, "As a conductor, composer and man, Oliver Knussen was larger than life," 10 July 2018 His passion for the game was obvious to all who knew him., "Deaths in South Florida: 7/1," 1 July 2018 What hasn’t changed, however, is his passion for the game and Sandburg. Pat Disabato, Daily Southtown, "Sandburg's Jim Morsovillo is the Daily Southtown Baseball Coach of the Year," 22 June 2018 Thanks to former student Jimmy Brooks/rap icon Drake, my passion for Degrassi is now more relevant than ever., "Every Degrassi Reference You Missed In Drake's "I'm Upset" From An Unironic Superfan," 14 June 2018 Those of you who have worked alongside her know that her passion for Nickelodeon is second to none, and her instincts for creating content and experiences kids love have been vital to the brand’s success around the world. Alyssa Newcomb, NBC News, "Apple's big developer conference includes a bunch of new features," 4 June 2018 His passion was unmatched, according to his former players and coaches. Corey Elliot, Indianapolis Star, "Former IU football coach Bill Mallory's 'true legacy is found in the lives he touched'," 2 June 2018 In addition to an admissions test, TJ has tried using various factors, including teacher recommendations, diversity goals, and indicators of passion for math and science, Ms. Kahn notes. Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Keep the test!' A debate flares over exam-based public high schools.," 6 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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Learn More about passion

Phrases Related to passion

the Passion

with a passion

Statistics for passion

Last Updated

14 Oct 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).


not any or not one

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