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 corrosion The 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

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

Dictionary Entries Near passivity



pass judgment on

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for passivity

Cite this Entry

“Passivity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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