What does passive mean?

Definitions for passive
ˈpæs ɪvpas·sive

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word passive.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. passive voice, passive(adj)

    the voice used to indicate that the grammatical subject of the verb is the recipient (not the source) of the action denoted by the verb

    "`The ball was thrown by the boy' uses the passive voice"; "`The ball was thrown' is an abbreviated passive"

  2. passive, inactive(adj)

    lacking in energy or will

    "Much benevolence of the passive order may be traced to a disinclination to inflict pain upon oneself"- George Meredith

  3. passive, peaceful(adj)

    peacefully resistant in response to injustice

    "passive resistance"

  4. passive(adj)

    expressing that the subject of the sentence is the patient of the action denoted by the verb

    "academics seem to favor passive sentences"


  1. passive(Noun)

    The passive voice of verbs.

  2. passive(Noun)

    A form of a verb that is in the passive voice.

  3. passive(Adjective)

    Being subjected to an action without producing a reaction.

  4. passive(Adjective)

    Taking no action.

    He remained passive during the protest.

  5. passive(Adjective)

    Being in the passive voice.

  6. passive(Adjective)

    Being inactive and submissive in a relationship, especially in a sexual one.

  7. passive(Adjective)

    Not participating in management.

  8. Origin: From passif, from passivus, from pati, past participle of passus; compare patient.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Passive(adj)

    not active, but acted upon; suffering or receiving impressions or influences; as, they were passive spectators, not actors in the scene

  2. Passive(adj)

    receiving or enduring without either active sympathy or active resistance; without emotion or excitement; patient; not opposing; unresisting; as, passive obedience; passive submission

  3. Passive(adj)

    inactive; inert; not showing strong affinity; as, red phosphorus is comparatively passive

  4. Passive(adj)

    designating certain morbid conditions, as hemorrhage or dropsy, characterized by relaxation of the vessels and tissues, with deficient vitality and lack of reaction in the affected tissues


  1. Passive

    "Passive" is a song from the band A Perfect Circle's 2004 album eMOTIVe The song is a remake of the song "Vacant" by the now-defunct band Tapeworm. "Vacant" was notably first performed by A Perfect Circle without Trent Reznor's agreement.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Passive

    pas′iv, adj. suffering, unresisting: not acting: (gram.) expressing the suffering of an action by the subject of the verb.—adv. Pass′ively.—ns. Pass′iveness, Passiv′ity, inactivity: patience: tendency of a body to preserve a given state, either of motion or of rest. [Fr.,—L. passivuspati, suffer.]

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. passive

    In surveillance, an adjective applied to actions or equipments which emit no energy capable of being detected.

Editors Contribution

  1. passive

    Of, relating to, or being a verb form or voice used to indicate that the grammatical subject is the object of the action or the effect of the verb.

    For example, in the sentence "They were impressed by his manner", were impressed is in the passive voice.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 8, 2016  

British National Corpus

  1. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'passive' in Adjectives Frequency: #812

How to pronounce passive?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say passive in sign language?

  1. passive


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of passive in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of passive in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of passive in a Sentence

  1. Andrew Dossi:

    The mayor seemed passive.

  2. Gary Hunley:

    She was not a passive first lady.

  3. Michele Hamm:

    Most of the kids used very passive coping strategies.

  4. Ronald Reagan:

    Qaddafi counted on America to be passive. He counted wrong.

  5. Mao Zedong:

    Passivity is fatal to us. Our goal is to make the enemy passive.

Images & Illustrations of passive

  1. passivepassivepassivepassivepassive

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Translations for passive

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"passive." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 7 Dec. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/passive>.

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