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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
passive resistance (=a way of protesting against something or opposing a government without using violence)
▪ Suffragettes resorted to passive resistance as the only weapon at their disposal.
passive resistance
▪ They tried to achieve their aims by passive resistance.
passive smoking
passive smoking (=breathing in smoke from other people’s cigarettes)
▪ the risks of passive smoking
passive voice
passive (=having the person or thing that the action is done to as the subject)
▪ Passive verbs may be necessary, but use them sparingly.
sb's passive vocabulary (=the words they can understand but do not use)
▪ Your passive vocabulary is much larger than your active vocabulary.
▪ Underlying the sequence is a view of the learner as a relatively passive recipient of instruction.
▪ First, talking politics is an active form of political participation; mass media exposure is relatively passive.
▪ Measures of female aggression tend to be relatively passive, pencil and paper responses.
▪ Dominating such studies has been a tendency to perceive objects as being reflective in a relatively passive sense.
▪ I think a great problem is that parenting has become way too passive.
▪ Whether bound for work or college, this research suggests, many students are too passive.
▪ This school is too awful to deserve passive acceptance.
▪ Analytical reading of history texts should never permit a passive acceptance of other people's interpretations of the past.
▪ Yet because of their passive acceptance of the ministrations of their neighbours they become the focus of attention.
▪ Animacy is, however, only one of the factors which influences selection of a passive form to describe a particular situation.
▪ Underlying the sequence is a view of the learner as a relatively passive recipient of instruction.
▪ Simultaneously, women were conceptualised as the passive recipients of scientific manipulation.
▪ No longer passive recipients of instruction, pupils are encouraged to be active collaborators in the learning process.
▪ However, the railways are not passive recipients of such political pressure, but political actors and manipulators in their own right.
▪ The directly concerned populations are invariably viewed as passive recipients of plans.
▪ These reformers, however, were not passive recipients of a message from on high.
▪ Often they are organized by younger people who merely expect ageing members to be passive recipients of organized events.
▪ The Magdalen College affair, for example, provides a classic example of passive resistance.
▪ Nor could Edna forgive Jane her offensive passive resistance.
▪ Within the classroom too teachers have to live with an active or passive resistance to their best efforts.
▪ Open negativism turns into stony passive resistance.
▪ There was great resentment, and considerable passive resistance.
▪ But passive resistance doesn't work.
▪ You can either hit these germs with an antibiotic, or paralyse your bowels and win through passive resistance.
▪ Chancellor Cuno's government proclaimed a policy of passive resistance, which entailed unlimited subsidies to the population of the Ruhr.
Roles Inspection by its nature casts teachers and schools in a passive role.
▪ The passive role of television viewers simply heightens its effect.
▪ The Independent Companies were therefore forced into a more passive role which nevertheless made a contribution to the main forces' campaigns.
▪ We ourselves had only a passive role.
▪ The female adopts a more passive role in conception than the male, and physiologically she has less to do.
▪ He had performed here many times in the past and the passive role was hard to take.
▪ The therapeutic approach has tended to cast Disabled people in very passive roles, initiated and controlled by non-Disabled professionals.
▪ Mrs Bloggs plays a passive role, adjusting to the situation.
▪ As both the active and the passive sentence mean the same thing, it is reasonable to ask why we need both.
▪ Subjects were told whether to produce an active or a passive sentence to describe the picture, and production latency was measured.
▪ In a literary essay, however, you should be cautious about leaving out the actor in a passive sentence.
▪ No distinction is made, for example, between active versus passive sentences.
▪ Another method of making a passive sentence active is to change the subject of the verb.
▪ The second advantage of passive sentences is that they have a different word order from active sentences.
▪ Or it may have been through passive smoking.
▪ This means that several hundred of the 40,000 deaths from lung cancer each year may be caused by passive smoking.
▪ An analysis of the 1987 survey was undertaken to estimate the dose-response relations of height and respiratory symptoms to passive smoking.
▪ The tobacco industry requested that Stivoro be stopped from propagating its position on passive smoking.
▪ Specialist medical evidence in the case showed that he had developed lung cancer as a result of active and passive smoking.
▪ Cotinine in the urine is a reliable indicator that the subject has been exposed to passive smoking.
▪ The authors conclude that the risk of respiratory conditions resulting from passive smoking, although small, is not negligible. 2.
▪ Their wickedness was emphasised by several large posters detailing the dangers of both active and passive smoking.
▪ None the less, neither governments nor peoples are simply passive victims.
▪ You can become a passive victim of situations that are far beyond your control.
▪ We are not passive victims of the television set.
▪ This hypothesis requires further analysis of the passive voice before it can be considered confirmed however.
▪ But, serious accidents can happen along the way when you use the passive voice.
▪ In the passive voice the subject does not do the action: it suffers the action.
▪ His prose is filled with active verbs and metaphors, instead of the passive voice and jargon frequently churned out by academics.
▪ Like most great rules, the rule against the passive voice has exceptions.
active/passive voice
▪ But, serious accidents can happen along the way when you use the passive voice.
▪ Explain the difference between the passive and active voice and wordy and concise word use as objectively as possible.
▪ In the active voice the subject of the sentence does the action.
▪ In the passive voice the subject does not do the action: it suffers the action.
▪ Secrets of the Passive Voice Revealed!
▪ This hypothesis requires further analysis of the passive voice before it can be considered confirmed however.
▪ Truth: Passive and active voice address a structural issue only-the relationship between the actor and the action in the sentence.
▪ Use only the active voice for procedures and employ it as much as possible for descriptions and operations.
▪ Emma plays far too passive a role in group discussions.
▪ The story's main female character is shown as an attractive but rather passive woman.
▪ The student's role in a traditional classroom learning environment is a passive one.
▪ You're too passive, Harry. You should just tell her you don't want to go.
▪ An analysis of the 1987 survey was undertaken to estimate the dose-response relations of height and respiratory symptoms to passive smoking.
▪ Duffy refuses to fall into the trap of spoon-feeding the material to passive students, which only increases their passivity.
▪ Explain the difference between the passive and active voice and wordy and concise word use as objectively as possible.
▪ For decades it has cowed public employees, left them docile, passive, and bitter.
▪ Heat-sensing passive infra-red detectors with a fifty-feet range.
▪ Her licentiousness was entirely passive, reflecting not her own desires but those of the man she was with.
▪ The second, 1 Cor 6: 9-11, speaks about both the active and the passive participants in homosexual activity.
▪ However subsequent research has shown that both negatives and passives are used in response to the presence of particular pragmatic factors.
▪ In fact, the passive has two particular advantages and these provide the reasons for its most characteristic uses.
▪ The number of passives produced in response to the different pictures varied considerably.
▪ When the acted-upon was thematic, 155 passives were produced, but when the actor was thematic, only 44 were produced.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Passive \Pas"sive\, a. [L. passivus: cf. F. passif. See Passion.]

  1. Not active, but acted upon; suffering or receiving impressions or influences; as, they were passive spectators, not actors in the scene.

    The passive air Upbore their nimble tread.

    The mind is wholly passive in the reception of all its simple ideas.

  2. Receiving or enduring without either active sympathy or active resistance; without emotion or excitement; patient; not opposing; unresisting; as, passive obedience; passive submission.

    The best virtue, passive fortitude.

  3. (Chem.) Inactive; inert; not showing strong affinity; as, red phosphorus is comparatively passive.

  4. (Med.) Designating certain morbid conditions, as hemorrhage or dropsy, characterized by relaxation of the vessels and tissues, with deficient vitality and lack of reaction in the affected tissues.

    Passive congestion (Med.), congestion due to obstruction to the return of the blood from the affected part.

    Passive iron (Chem.), iron which has been subjected to the action of heat, of strong nitric acid, chlorine, etc. It is then not easily acted upon by acids.

    Passive movement (Med.), a movement of a part, in order to exercise it, made without the assistance of the muscles which ordinarily move the part.

    Passive obedience (as used by writers on government), obedience or submission of the subject or citizen as a duty in all cases to the existing government.

    Passive prayer, among mystic divines, a suspension of the activity of the soul or intellectual faculties, the soul remaining quiet, and yielding only to the impulses of grace.

    Passive verb, or Passive voice (Gram.), a verb, or form of a verb, which expresses the effect of the action of some agent; as, in Latin, doceor, I am taught; in English, she is loved; the picture is admired by all; he is assailed by slander.

    Syn: Inactive; inert; quiescent; unresisting; unopposing; suffering; enduring; submissive; patient.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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.


a. 1 Being subjected to an action without producing a reaction. 2 Taking no action. 3 (context grammar English) Being in the passive voice. 4 (context psychology English) Being inactive and submissive in a relationship, especially in a sexual one. 5 (context finance English) Not participating in management. 6 (cx aviation English) Without motive power. n. 1 (context uncountable grammar English) The passive voice of verbs. 2 (context countable grammar English) A form of a verb that is in the passive voice.


n. the voice used to indicate that the grammatical subject of the verb is the recipient (not the source) of the action denoted by the verb; "`The ball was thrown by the boy' uses the passive voice"; "`The ball was thrown' is an abbreviated passive" [syn: passive voice] [ant: active voice]

  1. adj. lacking in energy or will; "Much benevolence of the passive order may be traced to a disinclination to inflict pain upon oneself"- George Meredith [syn: inactive] [ant: active]

  2. peacefully resistant in response to injustice; "passive resistance" [syn: peaceful]

  3. expressing thatthe subject of the sentence is the patient of the action denoted by the verb; "academics seem to favor passive sentences" [ant: active]


Passive may refer to:

  • "Passive" (song), by A Perfect Circle
  • Passive voice, a grammatical voice common in many languages
  • Passive house, a standard for energy efficiency in buildings
  • Passive psi, psychic abilities involving cognition
  • Passive language, a language from which an interpreter works
  • Passivity (engineering) a property of engineering systems, particularly in analog electronics and control systems
  • Passive solar building design, which uses (or avoids) sunlight as an energy source without active mechanical systems
  • Passivity (behavior), the condition of submitting to the influence of one's superior or superiors
  • Passive–aggressive behavior, resistance to following through with expectations in interpersonal or occupational situations
  • Passivation, process of making a material "passive" in relation to another material prior to using the materials together
Passive (song)

"Passive" is a song from the band A Perfect Circle's 2004 album eMOTIVe The song is a remake of the song "Vacant" by the now-defunct band Tapeworm.

"Vacant" was notably first performed by A Perfect Circle without Trent Reznor's agreement.

Usage examples of "passive".

Then, as he stood with an expression of passive amazement on his face, the rapid feet came to the door of the dressing-room and that too was locked.

A thing is said to be assumable as being capable of being assumed by a Divine Person, and this capability cannot be taken with reference to the natural passive power, which does not extend to what transcends the natural order, as the personal union of a creature with God transcends it.

By its warming astringency, it exercises cordial properties which are most useful in arresting passive diarrhoea, and in relieving flatulent indigestion.

Since he had regained consciousness, Baculum had been both lucid and passive, if completely uncooperative.

State assault-bit, was disastrously involved with one Pamela Hoffman-Jeep, his first girl ever with a hyphen, a sort of upscale but directionless and not very healthy and pale and incredibly passive Danvers girl that worked in Purchasing for a hospital-supply co.

So she went below, leaving him in that hour of passive yet troubled thought, to stare up at the tranquil southern stars, as he meditated on life, and the meaning of life, and what lay beyond it all.

Unable to remain passive as he persisted in his engrossing oral ministrations, her hands pressured his bead toward the yearning hole that screamed for him.

It would be difficult to say whose lot was most lamentable, that of the active Tories, who gave up their patrimonies for a pittance from the British pension-roll, and their native land for a cold reception in their miscalled home, or the passive ones who remained behind to endure the coldness of former friends, and the public opprobrium, as despised citizens, under a government which they abhorred.

The five seismograph stations of the Passive Seismic Experiment set up between1969and1977 as part of the United States Apollo Program detected up to 3,000 moonquakes every year.

At first the fluid-creature was passive, exploring the multiphasic containment chamber Gilmore had built.

An outwearied hopelessness expressed a passive sentiment very like indifference in the clear wide gaze.

The high-energy proton spectrpmetry clusters flunked out, too, as did the gravimetric distortion mapping scanner, the fixed angle gamma frequency counter, the wide-angle EM radiation imaging scanner, the quark population analysis counter, the Z-range particulate spectrometry sensor, the low-frequency EM flux sensor, the localized subspace field stress sensor, the parametric subspace field stress sensor, the hydrogen-filter subspace flux scanner, the linear calibration subspace flux sensor, the variable band optical imagining cluster, the virtual aperture graviton flux spectrometer, the high-resolution graviton flux spectrometer, the very low energy graviton spin pola-rimeter, the passive imaging gamma interferometry sensor, the low-level imagining sensor, the virtual particle mapping camera, and even the life-form analysis instrument counter.

The passive voice is formed by joining the participle preterit to the substantive verb, as I am loved.

The passive is formed by the addition of the participle preterit to the different tenses of the verb to be, which must therefore be here exhibited.

There is another manner of using the active participle, which gives it a passive signification: as, The grammar is now printing, grammatica jam nunc chartis imprimitur.