pas·​sion | \ ˈpa-shən How to pronounce passion (audio) \

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 How to pronounce passionless (audio) \ 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 Not long ago, Hammer was walking in San Carlos, taking pictures of street life — another ongoing passion project. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Photographer travels U.S. to chronicle a fading piece of Americana: old-school barbershops," 15 Nov. 2020 The latter is the passion project of two fortysomethings, Fernando García and Daniel Landi, who work with ancient garnacha vineyards in the foothills of the Sierra de Gredos mountains west of Madrid. Jay Mcinerney, Town & Country, "What to Drink After Your House Burns Down," 12 Nov. 2020 What started as Kawahata’s passion project has grown into a bona fide movement known as #DateSaveAmerica, with interested parties joining a WhatsApp group to discuss potential outreach methods. Emma Specter, Vogue, "Meet the Women Using Dating Apps to Reach Undecided Voters in Battleground States," 2 Nov. 2020 Playing an average of over one show per week plus working a full-time job in sales, Rivera’s Halloween passion project is no small thing. Jesse Wright,, "Every Halloween a guy named Moe turns his Oak Forest front yard into a fright fest, drawing hundreds of visitors," 29 Oct. 2020 Americanah is a longtime passion project for Nyong'o, who has been attached to a potential adaptation since 2014. Tyler Aquilina,, "Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira's Americanah series not moving ahead at HBO Max," 15 Oct. 2020 Blank and Waithe had known each other casually from various Hollywood gatherings, but when Blank told Waithe about her passion project, Waithe was instantly hooked. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Radha Blank’s Lockdown Breakout Film Doubles as Her Own Origin Tale," 12 Oct. 2020 Much like her character, Blank started working on her passion project in the aftermath of a professional setback. Anne Cohen,, "Radha Blank’s The Forty-Year-Old Version Isn’t Autobiographical — Or Is It?," 11 Oct. 2020 Jones calls it a passion project for her whole family — but especially her mother, Gene. Allison Hatfield, Dallas News, "Dallas Cowboys Crucial Catch game sends a message that’s more important than ever," 3 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for passion

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for passion

Last Updated

24 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Passion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for passion


How to pronounce passion (audio)

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 How to pronounce passion (audio) \

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 How to pronounce passion (audio) \

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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