Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “passive”

passive

adjective uk   /ˈpæs.ɪv/ us  

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 the church women have been confined to more passive roles.
See also

passive adjective (GRAMMAR)

B1 specialized language describes 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: 'He was released from prison' is a passive sentence.
passively
adverb uk   /-li/ us  
He tends to wait passively for his boss to tell him what to do.
Grammar

passive

noun [S] uk   /ˈpæs.ɪv/ specialized us  
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 which causes the effect: When changed into the passive, 'The dog chased the cat' becomes 'The cat was chased by the dog'.
Compare
Grammar
(Definition of passive from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of passive?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Passive and not working, but you might be interested in these topics from the Working topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “passive” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

debut

the occasion when someone performs or presents something to the public for the first time

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

Read More 

ped-text verb

November 24, 2014
to text someone while walking I’m ped-texting, I’m looking down at my phone, 75 percent of the time.

Read More