- noting a voice in the inflection of the verb in some languages which is used to indicate that the subject undergoes the action of the verb. Latin portātur, “he, she, or it is carried,” is in the passive voice.
- noting or pertaining to a construction similar to this in meaning, as English He is carried (opposed to active).
Origin of passive
Examples from the Web for passively
All while the international community observed, if not passively, impotently.
For some of these kids, video games are a way to passively experience the shock and awe of combat.
But Tehran has rarely been content with passively benefitting from these crises.
But Mrs. M is capable of doing much more than just passively standing by her man in his moment of crisis.
Then I was supposed to passively take his arm and stroll offstage.
We stood by passively while the masterful doctor heckled and hustled the unhappy Center of Culture into his car.A Woman Named Smith|Marie Conway Oemler
The Countess was neither satisfied nor convinced; but she was weary and wanted rest, and so acquiesced listlessly and passively.Barren Honour: A Novel|George A. Lawrence
The king of Prussia did not passively bear all the imputations that were fixed upon his conduct.The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.II.|Tobias Smollett
Passively she submitted to his caresses, though she loathed them and him from the bottom of her soul.The Mystery of Lincoln's Inn|Robert Machray
The human masses execrate the scourge, but accept it passively.The Forerunners|Romain Rolland
British Dictionary definitions for passively
- containing no source of power and therefore capable only of attenuating a signala passive network
- not capable of amplifying a signal or controlling a functiona passive communications satellite
- the passive voice
- a passive verb
Word Origin for passive
Word Origin and History for passively
late 14c., in grammatical sense (opposed to active), Old French passif "suffering, undergoing hardship" (14c.) and directly from Latin passivus "capable of feeling or suffering," from pass-, past participle stem of pati "to suffer" (see passion). Meaning "not active" is first recorded late 15c.; sense of "enduring suffering without resistance" is from 1620s. Related: Passively. Passive resistance first attested 1819 in Scott's "Ivanhoe," used throughout 19c.; re-coined by Gandhi c.1906 in South Africa. Passive-aggressive with reference to behavior is attested by 1971.