: being, marked by, or displaying behavior characterized by the expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive passive way (as through procrastination and stubbornness)
It is passive-aggressive behavior, the donning of a mask of amiability that conceals raw antagonism toward one's competitors, even one's friends.—Hilary De Vries
A passive-aggressive manager eschews open hostilities, in part because he feels distinctly uncomfortable with them.—Walter Kiechel III
Examples of passive-aggressive in a Sentence
Recent Examples on the WebIf a parent’s relationship with the child is shaky (read: contentious, angry, combative, passive-aggressive, fear-based), power struggles are more common.—Meghan Leahy, Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2024 Phil is rude, disrespectful, stunningly immature, a bully, toxic and passive-aggressive.—Jeanne Phillips, The Mercury News, 12 Feb. 2024 Cue the series of LeBron James cryptic tweet emojis and self-serving, passive-aggressive offhand comments to the press beginning in 3 … 2 … 1 …
Statue of limitations
Kobe Bryant was ours.—Los Angeles Times, 10 Feb. 2024 Mental health experts usually caution against using sarcasm as a form of humor in relationships or otherwise due to its ambivalent and often passive-aggressive nature.—Mark Travers, Forbes, 9 Feb. 2024 There are aspects to your account that make your husband’s behavior toward you seem deliberately hostile, punitive and extremely passive-aggressive.—Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2024 There are aspects to your account that make your husband’s behavior toward you seem deliberately hostile, punitive, and extremely passive-aggressive.—Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 11 Jan. 2024 Body positivity in this sense is almost always presented with a sneaky sprinkling of passive-aggressive degradation.—Chloe Laws, Allure, 30 Nov. 2023 This idea works in many different contexts, delivering a weird sort of polite-seeming passive-aggressive satisfaction to the person uttering it.—Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'passive-aggressive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
: being, marked by, or displaying behavior characterized by expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive way (as through procrastination, stubbornness, and unwillingness to communicate)
a passive-aggressive personality
2 of 2noun
: a passive-aggressive individual
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