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, passiveadjective

    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, inactiveadjective

    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, peacefuladjective

    peacefully resistant in response to injustice

    "passive resistance"

  4. passiveadjective

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

    "academics seem to favor passive sentences"


  1. passivenoun

    The passive voice of verbs.

  2. passivenoun

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

  3. passiveadjective

    Being subjected to an action without producing a reaction.

  4. passiveadjective

    Taking no action.

    He remained passive during the protest.

  5. passiveadjective

    Being in the passive voice.

  6. passiveadjective

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

  7. passiveadjective

    Not participating in management.

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

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PASSIVEadjective

    Etymology: passif, French; passivus, Latin.

    High above the ground
    Their march was, and the passive air upbore
    Their nimble tread. John Milton, Paradise Lost.

    The active informations of the intellect, filling the passive reception of the will, like form closing with matter, grew actuate into a third and distinct perfection of practice. South.

    As the mind is wholly passive in the reception of all its simple ideas, so it exerts several acts of its own, whereby, out of its simple ideas, the other is formed. John Locke.

    The vis inertiæ is a passive principle by which bodies persist in their motion or rest, receive motion in proportion to the force impressing it, and resist as much as they are resisted: by this principle alone, there never could have been any motion in the world. Isaac Newton, Opticks.

    Not those alone, who passive own her laws,
    But who, weak rebels, more advance her cause. Dunciad.

    A verb passive is that which signifies passion or the effect of action: as, doceor, I am taught. John Clarke, Lat. Gram.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Passiveadjective

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

  2. Passiveadjective

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

  3. Passiveadjective

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

  4. Passiveadjective

    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.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Adjectives Frequency

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

How to pronounce passive?

How to say passive in sign language?


  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. Ronald Reagan:

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

  2. Rotman Prez:

    We hope this is not simply the beginning of an investigation due to social pressure, but rather a diligent investigation and not just a passive attitude.

  3. Peter Laurelli:

    It may be the case that while SWF's exposure to China will increase as a result of their exposure to passive global EM equity strategies, a segment to which they've allocated nearly $7 billion since the beginning of 2018, there is additional interest in supplementing that long-only index-based exposure to China with alternative approaches.

  4. Tsukasa Komatani:

    Instead of a passive wait-and-see approach to this issue, we proactively establish JV together...to jointly solve the global environmental problem...and thus respond to the environmental changes of resources.

  5. Manny Roman:

    Every single year you have more money going in (to passive funds) and I think for quant it's going to be very similar.

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Translations for passive

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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    the act of giving an account describing incidents or a course of events
    • A. muddle
    • B. hodgepodge
    • C. mitre
    • D. recital

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