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[im-pas-iv] /ɪmˈpæs ɪv/
without emotion; apathetic; unmoved.
calm; serene.
unconscious; insensible.
not subject to suffering.
Origin of impassive
First recorded in 1660-70; im-2 + passive
Related forms
impassively, adverb
impassiveness, impassivity
[im-pa-siv-i-tee] /ˌɪm pæˈsɪv ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
1. emotionless, phlegmatic, stoical, indifferent, undisturbed, unperturbed. 2. tranquil, unruffled, composed. 4. unaffected; unflinching. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for impassive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When I went over to my own room I found my man waiting, impassive as the copper head on a penny, to pull off my boots.

    Life's Handicap Rudyard Kipling
  • He was cold, impassive, and had the air of one who is born to command.

    Stories Of Georgia Joel Chandler Harris
  • Again the spade resumed its work; and the impassive earth returned dully to its former resting-place.

    Ben Blair Will Lillibridge
  • Even the impassive Bert Rhine could not quite conceal his surprise.

  • She wondered that she did not; when she thought of it all, she was shocked to find herself so impassive.

    The Fatal Glove Clara Augusta Jones Trask
  • The impassive tone had gradually warmed to a heat which was unmistakable.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • The impassive face of the friend showed neither surprise nor confusion at what must have been to him a most unexpected encounter.

  • But I do not "hate" an impassive, unchangeable temper, whether in a tree or in a man.

    The Foot-path Way Bradford Torrey
British Dictionary definitions for impassive


not revealing or affected by emotion; reserved
calm; serene; imperturbable
(rare) unconscious or insensible
Derived Forms
impassively, adverb
impassiveness, impassivity (ˌɪmpæˈsɪvɪtɪ) noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for impassive

1660s, "not feeling pain," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + passive. Meaning "void of emotions" is from 1690s. Related: Impassively; impassiveness (1640s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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