[ pas-iv ]
/ ˈpæs ɪv /


noun Grammar.

the passive voice.
a passive form or construction.

Origin of passive

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin passīvus literally, submissive, equivalent to pass(us) (past participle of patī to experience, undergo, submit) + -īvus -ive

Related forms

Can be confused

aggressive passive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for passive

British Dictionary definitions for passive


/ (ˈpæsɪv) /



  1. the passive voice
  2. a passive verb

Derived Forms

passively, adverbpassivity or passiveness, noun

Word Origin for passive

C14: from Latin passīvus susceptible of suffering, from patī to undergo
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

Medicine definitions for passive


[ păsĭv ]


Accepting or submitting without resistance or objection.
Of or being an inactive or submissive role in a relationship, especially a sexual relationship.
Chemically unreactive except under special or extreme conditions; inert.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.