Definition of passion in US English:



  • 1Strong and barely controllable emotion.

    ‘a man of impetuous passion’
    • ‘The convergence of holiness and physical passion carries as strong a charge in this gem-like painting as it does in The Song of Songs itself.’
    • ‘In addition to education in specific areas of interest, one should also have a strong innate passion and interest for the profession.’
    • ‘Week after week I read the letters and such a strong sense of passion is evident in the words of so many people.’
    • ‘When such passion burns strong, one will risk all.’
    • ‘Struggling to co-ordinate the microphone and loudspeakers, it all looked a bit amateur, but at the same time I appreciated the emotion, passion and integrity of the moment.’
    • ‘For a leader, this calls for commitment, a sense of passion and a strong drive to work for the underprivileged and the very poor at the grassroots.’
    • ‘The prospect of war has roused strong passions, drawing politicians and public figures into pro and anti positions.’
    • ‘This madness went will with the eccentric enthusiasm of hundreds of people gathered, filling the whole atmosphere with a strong current of passion and action.’
    • ‘In Finland, anger, passion and emotion suggest you're not in control.’
    • ‘Within the context of modernity, the autonomous artist, as a creative being, explores varying moods, passion, sentiments and emotions.’
    • ‘Passion is essential for this strong commitment, without passion there is no real direction and vision is short-lived.’
    • ‘I appreciate his focus, insight and passion, but take strong exception to his analytical framework.’
    • ‘Particular passion was aroused by the demand that firefighters be designated as such, and identified by their engine companies.’
    • ‘There was a certain complexity to the music, but it was - without a doubt - filled with passion and emotion.’
    • ‘But I think Kate got her passion, her strong feelings from approval of what here mother was doing.’
    • ‘And, of course, probably the most important issue is that you've actually got to have a really strong passion for what you want to do.’
    • ‘It makes my passion stronger to find other choices.’
    • ‘Its true nature is often obscured by strong emotions like anger and passion.’
    • ‘This obvious political charade does not engender strong passion.’
    • ‘He would always have a strong, fiery passion for whatever he believed in, and at times, it could get a little overwhelming.’
    sensibilities, sensitivities, self-esteem, ego, pride
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A state or outburst of strong emotion.
      ‘oratory in which he gradually works himself up into a passion’
      • ‘But having begun for reactionary reasons, the riots quickly showed a passion and fury that suggested deeply felt injustice.’
      • ‘Given New Yorkers' inclination to declare themselves with intense passion on even the most minor issues, this silence might seem odd.’
      • ‘I knew they would get somewhere - the passion in Isaiah's voice when he sang was too strong to let him stay in Carmel for the rest of his life.’
      • ‘It would be a shame, this team has worked so hard all year and the passion and raw emotion with which they play is something this competition needs desperately.’
      • ‘Their deaths are spectacles of passivity in the face of an avenging passion that is beyond their emotional range.’
      • ‘With real-life college football starting up recently, I literally get goose bumps listening to the passion and emotion of the crowds.’
      • ‘The high emotions of the night didn't compare to the passion displayed in this song, as Oberst lowered himself down on stage and sang from his knees.’
      • ‘I stood still at the window, taken aback by the passion of the outburst as much as the completely unexpected words.’
      • ‘Fine, you stick to your mall rock and corporate emo, but we'll know where the passion and the fury really is.’
      • ‘Instead, the passion and anger that bubbled Dean to the top was focused on something much more fundamental: a basic corruption of government.’
      • ‘Although not a football fan himself, 44-year-old Len said working on the book gave him a unique insight to the passion and emotions of the game.’
      • ‘The main problem is that most of the passion takes the form of rage - about the combination of ridiculous workload and unreal expectations.’
      • ‘Yesterday, however, the mayor ventured out of New Orleans to visit a shelter in Shreveport where the tempers are short and the passion's high.’
      • ‘There is little of the passion that raged and stormed, or of the desperation from which she sought, and appears to have found, a partial release in Roman Catholicism.’
      rage, blind rage, fit of anger, fit of rage, fit of temper, temper, towering rage, outburst of anger, tantrum, fury, frenzy, paroxysm, fever
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Intense sexual love.
      ‘their all-consuming passion for each other’
      ‘she nurses a passion for Thomas’
      • ‘The process of accumulating sounds of words and elements of sexual passion as if they were notes of a recurring tune informs the sequential movement of the whole poem.’
      • ‘The question of sexual passion in late life and what a much older man has to offer a younger woman, apart from the status that traditionally makes him more attractive, is treated very coyly here.’
      • ‘Even if there was no formal ceremony and no icon to celebrate it, they were bound together by something stronger than erotic passion and he claims substantial credit for maintaining her rule.’
      • ‘Their relationship was always filled with this intense passion.’
      • ‘In 90 minutes of compelling drama, the actors explore the impossible intricacies of love, domesticity and sexual passion.’
      • ‘He watched her face as their passion became more intense.’
      • ‘Quite the contrary - friendship, love, and sexual passion can all take many forms, and they are likely to be expressed in strong ways in any imaginable society.’
      • ‘Li looked at her wife, whom he had once loved with such passion, and a pain shot through his ice cold heart.’
      • ‘Last month, my husband returned from a business trip in Europe, he was hotter than ever before, with more passion and sexual energy than he'd had for years.’
      • ‘Katerina's soul-destroying loneliness and violent sexual passion is expressed in music of soaring lyricism.’
      • ‘She is the epitome of what sexual passion is supposed to signify.’
      • ‘And if we had to depend on reason and reproductive technology rather than sexual passion to produce the next generation, we'd be in trouble.’
      • ‘Although the kiss was brief, she could feel his intense passion.’
      • ‘Victoria and Albert came to love each other with a strong physical passion, yet she hated pregnancy, childbirth, babies, and children.’
      • ‘He is as implacable in giving life as he is in taking it; as responsible for the exhilaration of sexual passion as he is for its diminution and loss.’
      • ‘One or both of you begins to feel suffocated, and the intense vulnerability of sexual passion that was so easy in the early days becomes impossible.’
      • ‘Perhaps those who still crave sexual passion after 60 didn't get enough of it when they were younger.’
      • ‘Erotic love and sexual passion are not things that simply happen to people; you can learn to create them over your lifetime with the same lover.’
      • ‘What passes without comment, though, what is accepted as a given, are modern notions of romantic love, the truth of sexual passion.’
      • ‘He was a teenager in the grip of a strong, young passion, and Bess was his unattainable beloved.’
      love, desire, sexual love, sexual desire, lust, ardour, hunger, yearning, longing, craving, adoration, infatuation, lasciviousness, lustfulness
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 An intense desire or enthusiasm for something.
      ‘the English have a passion for gardens’
      • ‘Is this true of a young person with a passion for writing books?’
      • ‘But behind your reserved exterior lies a dedicated person with a passion for the concrete truth who wants to, in his heart of hearts, help find missing children.’
      • ‘Woven into the long days of station work for the Angus family and their crew is the camaraderie of shared interests - particularly a passion for beef and a love of horses.’
      • ‘Pair an obsession with organization with a passion for how people think and value… and you get information architecture.’
      • ‘Conversing with Iglehart for any length of time, reveals a passion for the people and place of India, a place where he continues to visit on a regular basis.’
      • ‘The court was told Mr Jones was a popular young man with a large group of friends who had a passion for music and skateboarding.’
      • ‘Lancaster is surrounded by wonderful landscapes and the area is full of people with a passion for the outdoors.’
      • ‘The founder of perhaps Scotland's only quality independent wine merchant is expanding the business and needs people with a passion for the grape and the grain.’
      • ‘Simply put, we have the right people who have a passion for the music.’
      • ‘Two galleries who partnered with auto dealers found that luxury car enthusiasts also have a passion for art’
      • ‘My teachers are dedicated and professional people who have a passion for the subjects they teach, going beyond the call of duty in the support they provide to help students reach their full potential.’
      • ‘But he came with a wealth of knowledge, an abundance of enthusiasm and a passion for the club where his career had kicked off 30 years earlier.’
      • ‘You meet collectors and curators and people who have a passion for the arts.’
      • ‘I have the greatest of admiration for people who have a passion for politics.’
      • ‘Leading the service, the reverend described Mr Jackson as ‘the most energetic of people’ with a passion for life.’
      • ‘Youngsters with a passion for music relished the Devizes Summer School held last week at Southbroom Junior School.’
      • ‘Now art and green politics are again interwoven in an innovative project, involving hundreds of ordinary people who share a passion for trees and knitting.’
      • ‘And he's got his horses, which he breeds for racing, and a passion for good wine.’
      • ‘You really have to have enthusiasm for that, a passion for it.’
      • ‘Organisations can start by hiring people with a passion for their business.’
      fervour, ardour, intensity, enthusiasm, eagerness, zeal, zealousness, vehemence, vigour, avidity, avidness, feeling, emotion, fire, heat, fieriness, fierceness, excitement, energy, animation, gusto, zest, zestfulness, spirit, spiritedness, commitment, fanaticism, violence
      enthusiasm, love, mania, keen interest, fascination, obsession, fanaticism, fixation, predilection, compulsion, appetite, relish, partiality, liking, interest, weakness, penchant, addiction, fondness
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 A thing arousing enthusiasm.
      ‘modern furniture is a particular passion of Bill's’
      • ‘She put aside what she was doing and attended to my problem with enthusiasm, showing a passion for her job.’
      • ‘As a Harvard MBA, he has always had very strong passion for teaching and thought effective education could help managers be more successful.’
      • ‘Their connection is that they are friends who share a passion for skateboarding and an appreciation for exploring the road.’
      • ‘Himalayan Enfielders, now nearly a year old with about 70 members, is a forum for people who have a passion for biking in Kathmandu.’
      • ‘He said he was devastated because Levi's and fashion were his passions.’
      • ‘Mr Morris said beach-fishing which is a much about relaxation than the sport itself, was a passion for many people.’
      • ‘He has a strong incentive: his passion for the mountains, which he shares with others through his tours and photographs.’
      • ‘They built the pub not on a template drawn-up by a committee of marketing men, but around their own enthusiasms and passions.’
      • ‘The estate would allow him to satisfy his two strongest passions: golf and fishing.’
      • ‘Painting is something Meng has had an even stronger passion for since childhood which is when he first studied Western painting.’
      • ‘She has had strong passion for old cars since childhood.’
      • ‘Trainers are not driven by money, but by a passion for fitness and desire to help others.’
      • ‘They write about their current musical passions and highlight upcoming gigs and events.’
      • ‘His tireless passion and strong belief in our campaign has been an ongoing inspiration to all of us.’
      • ‘Natural history and sailing were among his passions, and his enthusiasms were enhanced by his travels.’
      • ‘Her strong passion for music began with the love of her father's music.’
      • ‘He said St Lucia is a football-oriented country and the people had a passion for the game.’
      • ‘In today's world, obsessions become possessions and passions become fashions.’
      • ‘This project is quite organic and it really is dependent on who is here and the particular passions and interests.’
      • ‘He was someone quite different: a true, generous and loyal friend who shared a passion for vintage cars and was about as far from the stereotype of the aristocratic snob as it was possible to get.’
      obsession, preoccupation, craze, mania, rage, hobby horse
      View synonyms
  • 2the PassionThe suffering and death of Jesus.

    ‘meditations on the Passion of Christ’
    • ‘Obviously, the image for him was Christ, and the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.’
    • ‘Have any of you ever spent any time in meditation on the Passion of Jesus?’
    • ‘She has painted a series of larger than life-sized paintings and drawings depicting the Passion of Jesus.’
    • ‘Burton is clearly not happy with the way those afflicted assimilated their suffering to the Passion of Christ, thus giving it personal meaning.’
    • ‘And he reads about the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified long ago to pay the penalty for sin, and rose from the dead on the third day to open the way to Heaven.’
    • ‘He laments the fact that the U.S. bishops have not explicitly condemned the film even though it appears to violate their own norms for presentations of the Passion of Jesus.’
    • ‘If Jesus related His Passion in this way, it would certainly explain how the disciples picked up that practice!’
    • ‘The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the vindication and glory of his Passion.’
    • ‘At noon on Good Friday the Passion and Death of Our Lord will be remembered with the Stations of the Cross being enacted by the pupils of Scoil Ide Naofa.’
    • ‘The celebrations of Holy Week in many cities and towns of Spain include floats with scenes of the Passion and Death of Christ, and likenesses of the Madonna.’
    • ‘A recurrent iconographic image is Christ depicted as the Man of Sorrows, the Christ of the Passion, and there are several fine examples here.’
    • ‘On Friday at 3pm, the congregation through the ceremony commemorated the Passion and death of our Lord.’
    • ‘Subsequent Christian retellings of the story of Jesus's Passion repeat this pattern of indirect allusion and variation.’
    crucifixion, pain, suffering, agony, martyrdom
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A narrative of the Passion from any of the Gospels.
      • ‘Against the backdrop of the first century world, Judas is not the enemy of Matthew's Passion narrative; instead, he is one its heroes.’
      • ‘For the second time this week we hear the Passion of Jesus, this time as told by John.’
      • ‘As it turned out, the congregation was taking part in a dramatic reading of the Passion narrative.’
      • ‘But soon enough we hear the Passion narrative as told by St. Luke, and the atmosphere changes.’
      • ‘There is no single Gospel story of the Passion; there are subtle differences among the four accounts.’
      • ‘The book follows the story of Jesus from the genealogies in Matthew and Luke to the Passion narratives.’
      • ‘Did Seneca author the original Passion narrative?’
      • ‘Luke's Passion narrative forms the mainstay of this suggestion.’
      • ‘Jesus fulfilled that prophecy in his day, riding into Jerusalem in peace, as the evangelists tell us in the Passion narrative.’
      • ‘It does not seem to fit the theology of John's Gospel at all, nor does it seem to suit the concerns of John's Passion narrative.’
      • ‘It had a discussion of the Passion in the four Gospels, and the complete Gospel account from Mark.’
      • ‘The Liturgy of the Passion of Jesus will be at 3 p.m. in Stradbally and at 4 in the other two churches.’
      • ‘The second forceful exposition of the way of Jesus, the so-called Passion prediction at 9: 33, is also not understood by the disciples.’
      • ‘But we move from the procession to the long narrative for the day, the full Passion from Matthew.’
      • ‘Thanks to the Ministers of the Word and Eucharist, the Pastoral Team who provided us with powerful symbols of the Passion, death and Resurrection and help in organising the Liturgies.’
    2. 2.2 A musical setting of any of the narratives of the Passion.
      ‘an aria from Bach's St. Matthew Passion’
      • ‘It takes its inspiration from the way Bach and other composers fused music and the Passion story.’
      • ‘When performed as Bach clearly intended and obviously felt, the Passion induces the most profound emotions that music can give.’
      • ‘Priory has now issued two collections of his anthems, the first celebrating Easter to Trinity, this one devoted mainly to Advent as far as the Passion.’
      • ‘In 1827 Mendelssohn and Devrient assembled a small choir in the family's Berlin home to try out some of the Passion's choruses.’
      • ‘Mayr's reflective settings of The Passion and Stabat Mater can also be found on Guild GMCD 7251-2.’
      • ‘The Westminster Symphonic Choir and the American Boychoir will be performing St. John Passion.’
      • ‘In those two hours, the audience, the congregation, the singers, the musicians, re-live, in a powerful way, the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ.’
      • ‘Don't forget to tune in to Bach's St John's Passion on Good Friday.’
      • ‘It was a Hamburg senator that published his Passion oratorio libretto in 1712.’
      • ‘Having done all I can with Messiah and Passion performances for this year, I decided to indulge in some reading of glossy magazines.’
      • ‘And how would Bach compose a Passion if he had lived in South America at the end of the twentieth century?’
      • ‘Bach later incorporated this cantata's beautiful final movement, a concerted setting of the same chorale melody, into his St. John's Passion.’
      • ‘Good Friday, April 9, the Young People's Choir will sing Liturgy of the Lord's Passion, and the Easter Vigil will be on Easter Saturday.’
      • ‘The programme looks at the Christian Passion story as perceived by composers through short pieces from the 16th through to the 20th centuries.’
      • ‘York Musical Society presents Bach's St John Passion for the first time since 1995 on Sunday, April 13 at 6.30 pm at York Minster.’
      • ‘It opens, in the manner of Bach's Passion, with the Chorus of Exiled Palestinians singing of exile, lands lost and the plight of those with nothing faced against those with the land.’
      • ‘With this Naxos release, the Passion is available on a budget-priced CD for the first time.’


Middle English: from Old French, from late Latin passio(n-) (chiefly a term in Christian theology), from Latin pati ‘suffer’.