passive

adjective
pas·​sive | \ ˈpa-siv How to pronounce passive (audio) \

Definition of passive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : acted upon by an external agency
(2) : receptive to outside impressions or influences
b(1) : asserting that the grammatical subject of a verb is subjected to or affected by the action represented by that verb the passive voice
(2) : containing or yielding a passive verb form
c(1) : lacking in energy or will : lethargic
(2) : tending not to take an active or dominant part
d : induced by an outside agency passive exercise of a paralyzed leg
2a : not active or operating : inert
b : of, relating to, or making direct use of the sun's heat usually without the intervention of mechanical devices a passive solar house
c : latent
d : of, relating to, or characterized by a state of chemical inactivity especially : resistant to corrosion
e of an electronic element : exhibiting no gain or control
f : relating to the detection of an object through its emission of energy or sound passive sonar
3a : receiving or enduring without resistance : submissive
b : existing or occurring without being active, open, or direct passive support
4 : of, relating to, or being business activity in which the investor does not actively participate in the generation of income

passive

noun
pas·​sive | \ ˈpa-siv How to pronounce passive (audio) \

Definition of passive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a verb form whose grammatical subject is subjected to or affected by the action represented by that verb : a passive verb form
2 : the passive voice of a language

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Other Words from passive

Adjective

passively adverb
passiveness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for passive

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for passive

Adjective

inactive, idle, inert, passive, supine mean not engaged in work or activity. inactive applies to anyone or anything not in action or in operation or at work. on inactive status as an astronaut inactive accounts idle applies to persons that are not busy or occupied or to their powers or their implements. workers were idle in the fields inert as applied to things implies powerlessness to move or to affect other things; as applied to persons it suggests an inherent or habitual indisposition to activity. inert ingredients in drugs an inert citizenry passive implies immobility or lack of normally expected response to an external force or influence and often suggests deliberate submissiveness or self-control. passive resistance supine applies only to persons and commonly implies abjectness or indolence. a supine willingness to play the fool

Examples of passive in a Sentence

Adjective The destructive myth/legend of Herbert Hoover strikes again. The nation's 31st President has chronically been portrayed as passive in the face of the Great Depression and his successor, Franklin Roosevelt, as the exact opposite—an activist who, if he didn't actually cure the Depression, at least profoundly improved the nation's battered psychology. — Steve Forbes, Forbes, 30 June 2008 He believes that the time has come for Europeans to discard their passive role with respect to the United States and that Americans must be made to understand why. — Nicholas Fraser, Harper's, May 2006 Throughout the streets of Moscow last Wednesday, word of the ignominious flight of the Soviet Union's would-be junta brought a sense not of jubilation, but of quiet relief that a bloody civil war had been averted, and of satisfaction that the myth of the passive, obedient Russian people might be laid to rest. — Fred Hiatt, Washington Post, 26 Aug.-1 Sept. 1991 “Hits” in “She hits the ball” is active, while “hit” in “The ball was hit” is passive. In “He was hit by the ball,” “hit” is a passive verb.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective On the other hand, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan are praised for halting the disease’s spread, owing to more recent, twentieth-century stereotypes about Asians being passive, collective-minded, and obsessed with hygiene. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "A New History of Being Asian-American," 14 May 2020 In New Horizons, the breeding is passive, but the outcome is almost guaranteed. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Here's How to Grow All Animal Crossing Flowers," 13 Apr. 2020 This 16-Inch flexible disc turns any office chair into a (very passive) core-strengthener. Popular Science, "Supplies for a productive and comfortable work-from-home space," 23 Mar. 2020 Eastwood urged people not to simply resort to passive forms of entertainment, as once the Netflix credits start rolling yet again, that feeling of being adrift will only resurface. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Bored of lockdown yet? This downtime may have some benefits ... if you do it right," 7 May 2020 Beach parking lots remain closed, and more passive activities such as loitering and sunbathing are still off-limits. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "Newport Beach reopens shoreline as California continues unlocking Orange County coast," 6 May 2020 To bridge the gap, aircraft manufacturer Airbus has partnered with the biotech startup Koniku to build a passive solution: an electronic nose. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Could Airbus's 'E-Nose' Put Bomb-Sniffing Dogs Out a Job?," 6 May 2020 When his mother, played by Marisa Tomei, starts dating a firefighter (Bill Burr), Davidson is forced out of his passive way of life and must move forward from his grief. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Live From His Mum’s Basement, Pete Davidson Gives A Crucial Update On His New Movie & Drug Habits," 29 Apr. 2020 To escape the endless and passive loop of this time for understanding. Jamieson Webster, The New York Review of Books, "End Notes: What Palliative Care Looks Like in a Pandemic," 24 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Janet Randall, a psycholinguist at Northeastern University, has found that rendering these instructions in plain English, stripping out passives and legalese especially, makes them much easier to interpret. The Economist, "Too often juries comprise 12 confused men (and women)," 14 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'passive.' 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 passive

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for passive

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Latin passivus, from passus, past participle of pati

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Time Traveler for passive

Time Traveler

The first known use of passive was in the 14th century

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Statistics for passive

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Passive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/passive. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for passive

passive

adjective
How to pronounce passive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of passive

used to describe someone who allows things to happen or who accepts what other people do or decide without trying to change anything
of a verb or voice : showing that the subject of a sentence is acted on or affected by the verb
: containing a passive verb form

passive

adjective
pas·​sive | \ ˈpa-siv How to pronounce passive (audio) \

Kids Definition of passive

1 : not taking an active part We were passive spectators.
2 : showing that the person or thing represented by the subject is acted on by the verb The phrase “were met” in “we were met by our friends” is passive.
3 : offering no resistance The captives showed passive obedience.

Other Words from passive

passively adverb

passive

adjective
pas·​sive | \ ˈpas-iv How to pronounce passive (audio) \

Medical Definition of passive

1a(1) : lethargic or lacking in energy or will
(2) : tending not to take an active or dominant part a passive spouse
b : induced by an outside agency passive exercise of a paralyzed leg
2a : of, relating to, or characterized by a state of chemical inactivity
b : not involving expenditure of chemical energy passive transport across a plasma membrane
3 : producing passive immunity passive immunotherapy

Other Words from passive

passively adverb
passiveness noun

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passive

adjective
pas·​sive | \ ˈpa-siv How to pronounce passive (audio) \

Legal Definition of passive

: not involving, deriving from, or requiring effort or active participation imposed a passive duty not to interfere specifically : of, relating to, or being business activity in which the investor does not have immediate control over the income-producing activity passive income passive losses

Note: Under the Internal Revenue Code, there are two sources of passive income: rental activity and a business in which the taxpayer does not materially participate.

Other Words from passive

passively adverb
passiveness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on passive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for passive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with passive

Spanish Central: Translation of passive

Nglish: Translation of passive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of passive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on passive

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