passive Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “passive” in the English Dictionary

"passive" in British English

See all translations

passiveadjective

uk   /ˈpæs.ɪv/  us   /ˈpæs.ɪv/
  • passive adjective (BEHAVIOUR)

B2 often disapproving not acting to influence or change a situation; allowing other people to be in control: He's very passive in the relationship. Traditionally in many professions women have been confined to more passive roles.
See also

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • passive adjective (GRAMMAR)

B1 specialized language The passive form of a verb is being used when the grammatical subject is the person or thing that experiences the effect of an action, rather than the person or thing that causes the effect: 'He was released from prison' is a passive sentence. In the sentence "He was hit by the ball", "was hit" is in the passive voice.
passively
adverb uk   /ˈpæs.ɪv.li/  us   /ˈpæs.ɪv.li/
He tends to wait passively for his boss to tell him what to do.
Grammar

passivenoun [S]

uk   /ˈpæs.ɪv/  us   /ˈpæs.ɪv/ specialized
the passive
B1 the form of a verb used when the grammatical subject is the person or thing that experiences the effect of an action, rather than the person or thing that causes the effect: When changed into the passive, "The dog chased the cat" becomes "The cat was chased by the dog".
Grammar
(Definition of passive from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"passive" in American English

See all translations

passiveadjective

 us   /ˈpæs·ɪv/
  • passive adjective (BEHAVIOR)

not reacting to what happens, or not acting or taking part: They attack people who are too weak or too passive to resist.
  • passive adjective (GRAMMAR)

grammar [not gradable] describing a verb or sentence in which the subject is the person or thing to which something stated is done: In the sentence "I was given a gift by Alex," the verb "give" is passive, or in the passive voice. Note: In English, passive verbs or sentences are formed with a form of the verb "to be" and a past participle.
passively
adverb  us   /ˈpæs·ɪv·li/
She watched passively as the children ran wild.
passivity
noun [U]  /pæˈsɪv·ɪ·t̬i/
Unemployment leads to political passivity, according to a study in Sweden.
(Definition of passive from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"passive" in Business English

See all translations

passiveadjective

uk   us   /ˈpæsɪv/
not acting to influence or change a situation, but allowing others to be in control: One of the interviewers asked most of the questions, and the other took a more passive role. Interactive TV technology makes passive viewers into active participants.
passively
adverb
He tends to wait passively for his boss to tell him what to do.
(Definition of passive from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of passive?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“passive” in Business English

A blazing row: words and phrases for arguing and arguments
A blazing row: words and phrases for arguing and arguments
by ,
May 04, 2016
by Kate Woodford We can’t always focus on the positive! This week, we’re looking at the language that is used to refer to arguing and arguments, and the differences in meaning between the various words and phrases. There are several words that suggest that people are arguing about something that is not important. (As you might

Read More 

Word of the Day

spaceship

(especially in stories) a vehicle used for travel in space

Word of the Day

trigger warning noun
trigger warning noun
May 02, 2016
a warning that a subject may trigger unpleasant emotions or memories This is not, I should stress, an argument that trigger warnings should become commonplace on campus.

Read More