Definition of passive in English:

passive

adjective

  • 1Accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance.

    ‘the women were portrayed as passive victims’
    • ‘As Hickey noted, peasants have many methods of passive and active resistance, and force is often counterproductive as a motivator.’
    • ‘The distinction between physically passive and relatively active patients, based on actometry, is helpful to select the correct approach to help the patient.’
    • ‘These crimes of violence continue with the active support or passive complicity of state agents, armed groups, families and communities.’
    • ‘The passive person allows things to wash over them.’
    • ‘The inhabitants of the colony prove to be neither passive victims nor fierce resistors in some undifferentiated manner.’
    • ‘Besides primary, secondary, we should also look at - that's a active scene, passive thing, did she put up a fight or she just submit herself.’
    • ‘Seminal studies in mammals indicated that the threshold at which the shift from an active to a passive behavioral response occurs is subject to great individual variation.’
    • ‘Historians are now concerned with resistance in active and passive forms, organised and impromptu, group and individual, male and female, political, economic, and cultural.’
    • ‘Patients accustomed to inadequate care may become resentful or respond with passive acceptance of the situation often seeing it simply as a further burden of poverty and social alienation.’
    • ‘They seem to prefer a passive response to a quick, aggressive reaction.’
    • ‘Active, not passive, response is called forth as is perseverance over the long haul.’
    • ‘But for many, the availability of therapeutic intervention may facilitate the transition from active worker to passive victim.’
    • ‘That is, they have the ability to rationally accept dreadful circumstances without becoming angry or passive, two common responses to extreme stress.’
    • ‘There is absolute integrity in the distinction between passive consumption and active use, except insofar as ‘use’ of a product signifies its consumption anyway.’
    • ‘Ultimately, as you follow this kind of plan, you will gain a passive income that allows you to quit your job, and you become, by definition, financially independent.’
    • ‘The South African government's passive response to events in Zimbabwe inevitably raises awkward questions about the depth of its own commitment to democracy.’
    • ‘From passive viewing to active buying is just another step.’
    • ‘She asked how it happened that ordinary Salvadorans went from decades of passive acceptance to active insurgency in a short time.’
    • ‘An underacknowledged distinction in studies of legitimacy centers on whether the organization seeks active support or merely passive acquiescence.’
    • ‘He could have remained a passive passenger allowing the constable to deal with the driver or could have insisted Mr Main breath-test Ms Johnstone but did neither.’
    submissive, acquiescent, unresisting, yielding, unassertive, non-resistant, compliant, complaisant, pliant, resigned, obedient, docile, tractable, malleable, pliable, meek, subdued, deferential, forbearing, long-suffering, patient, lamblike, non-violent, supine
    View synonyms
  • 2Grammar
    Denoting or relating to a voice of verbs in which the subject undergoes the action of the verb (e.g., they were killed as opposed to he killed them)

    The opposite of active
    • ‘Nominalization is one way to avoid reference to the agent of an action (here, who did the shooting), but it's not the same as using the passive voice.’
    • ‘Never use the passive voice in an incitement to action, however vile or reprehensible.’
    • ‘As is so often the case, it is the use of the passive voice in the paragraph that leads you into ambiguity and trouble.’
    • ‘The Suspension Clause is phrased in the passive voice; it does not say who may suspend the great writ.’
    • ‘Instead, the memo I circulated to the faculty was firmly rooted in the third person and utilized the passive voice.’
    • ‘Wilson never called a halt to it, but there's a common practice of whenever anything bad is mentioned, it's put in the passive voice as if nobody did it.’
    • ‘Numerous simple declarative sentences, at times virtually unconnected conceptually, and rampant use of the passive voice make the book difficult to read.’
    • ‘In addition, these content areas require longer, complex phrases and use of the passive voice.’
    • ‘Using the passive voice is always very helpful.’
    • ‘Eventually, I rejected my advisor's advice to write in the passive voice; it surely sounded more scientific, but was far duller.’
    • ‘A foundation narrative often was not about an individual hero, but was told in the passive voice and emphasized the technologies themselves.’
    • ‘A handful of misspellings, constant use of the passive voice, and frequent repetitiveness mar the study.’
    • ‘A colleague of mine at AT&T some years ago did an excellent job of expressing the case against the passive voice.’
    • ‘In Hindi, the passive voice is almost standard.’
    • ‘When it was applied to the husband, the translators rendered the verb in an active form; when applied to the woman they rendered it passive.’
    • ‘The passive voice gives a sense of detached and objective authority that, in contrast to the imperative mode, is expressive of neutrality.’
    • ‘The general pattern appears to be that the unmarked, active voice acts as a same function category, while the marked, passive voice indicates a switch in function.’
    • ‘No, you would have to be careful not to put it in a passive voice.’
    • ‘In many cases, the headline was also couched in a passive voice.’
    • ‘But the framers set a grammatical conundrum for us when they put the main clause in the passive voice: ‘shall not be infringed’.’
    • ‘The second report lapsed into the passive voice.’
  • 3(of a circuit or device) containing no source of electromotive force.

    1. 3.1(of radar or a satellite) receiving or reflecting radiation from a transmitter or target rather than generating its own signal.
    2. 3.2Relating to or denoting heating systems that make use of incident sunlight as an energy source.
  • 4Chemistry
    (of a metal) made unreactive by a thin inert surface layer of oxide.

noun

Grammar
  • 1A passive form of a verb.

    • ‘It was thought to be characterized by a fairly high proportion of such features as subordinate clauses, adjectives, the pronoun I and passives.’
    • ‘But readies for does not occur at all, and the six occurrences of readied for are all passives (so they illustrate the transitive verb).’
    • ‘What about conjoining a passive with an active?’
    • ‘By the way, they discuss many different kinds of bias on the part of Reuters, not just choice between actives and passives.’
    • ‘The question is simply this: do these words give us a true example of a verb that is middle or passive in form but active in meaning?’
    • ‘Choose active or passive verbs for their special effects.’
    • ‘Have you ever read something that assiduously avoids all passives and progressives?’
    • ‘The original was in the active voice, but the ‘when’ clause was in the passive.’
    • ‘One of the keys to the slant of any newspaper story is seeing which way the unsupported passives go.’
    • ‘With this framework, one can see politeness strategies in regularities of scientific style - such as the use of pronouns and of passives - that are usually explained in terms of conventions.’
    • ‘In actuality, only the first two examples are passives.’
    • ‘This confirms my point here; these passives do not have a passive meaning.’
    • ‘Since in the latter the indirect object has become the subject of the sentence, the construction is called the indirect passive.’
    • ‘But the whole tension of these two lines focuses on the verb - active, passive or participle?’
    1. 1.1The passive voice.
      • ‘We have already observed that during the time of Hellenistic Greek, the middle voice form was losing ground to the passive.’
      • ‘Use active verbs - but don't dismiss the passive.’
      • ‘Here the verbs are in the present passive: the Christian is being changed.’
      • ‘But I really do hate passive voice and buried claims like the plague.’
      • ‘This often works, but if you are writing in the active mood, the changes to the passive for the circumlocutions can be irksome.’
      • ‘Further, with all forms except the aorist and future, we are not able to tell whether a verb is middle or passive.’
      • ‘It followed that findings should be presented in the third person, and in a passive and cautious voice.’
      • ‘I learned the distinction between the active and passive voice as early as fifth grade.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in passive, also in the sense (exposed to) suffering, acted on by an external agency): from Latin passivus, from pass- suffered from the verb pati.

Pronunciation:

passive

/ˈpasiv/