1. denoting or pertaining to a personality type or behavior marked by the expression of negative emotions in passive, indirect ways, as through manipulation or noncooperation: a passive-aggressive employee who often misses deadlines.

Origin of passive-aggressive

First recorded in 1945–50
Related formspas·sive-ag·gres·sion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for passive-aggressive


  1. psychoanal of or relating to a personality that harbours aggressive emotions while behaving in a calm or detached manner
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