pas·​siv·​i·​ty | \ pa-ˈsi-və-tē How to pronounce passivity (audio) \

Definition of passivity

1 : the quality or state of being passive : passiveness The only thing that I find more depressing than this charlatan is the passivity of the museum-goers who pass before his works: they may have an inkling that they are being had, but they are unable to trust the evidence of their eyes.— Jed Perl … and now she was condemned to years of genteel English poverty by a passivity stubborn as low-grade fever.— Vivian Gornick The implication—that American policy makers had, out of some combination of timorous passivity and treasonous perfidy, lost China to Communism—set off one of the darkest-ever turns in American civic life.— Daniel Kurtz-Phelan
2 chemistry : a chemically inactive state used especially of a metal that has lost its normal chemical activity and is resistant to corrosionThe lower limit of 11% is based on the markedly increased corrosion resistance and spontaneous passivity obtained at this level.— Donald H. DeClerck et al.

First Known Use of passivity

1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about passivity

Time Traveler for passivity

Time Traveler

The first known use of passivity was in 1659

See more words from the same year

Statistics for passivity

Cite this Entry

“Passivity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for passivity


pas·​siv·​i·​ty | \ pa-ˈsiv-ət-ē How to pronounce passivity (audio) \
plural passivities

Medical Definition of passivity

: the quality or state of being passive or submissive

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on passivity

What made you want to look up passivity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!