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passive
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passive


She plays a passive role in their relationship.
  accepting what happens without trying to take control or reacting strongly
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passive passively passiveness passitivity passive resistance
Notes:
Our culture tends to prize dominance over passivity.
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Samples:
  • She plays a passive role in their relationship.
  • Watching television is too passive for me. I prefer more active hobbies.
  • Martin Luther King is famous for bringing about change through passive resistance.
  • Beside the water, not a hundred yards away, the Spirit Bear stood watching him with a fearless and passive stare.
    Ben Mikaeslen  --  Touching Spirit Bear

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  • He was in a state of nervous excitement and perturbation; he noticed nothing and no one; and he felt a craving for solitude, to be alone with his thoughts and his emotions, and to give himself up to them passively.
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Idiot
  • She really was both innocent and corrupt, but a sweet and passive woman.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  Anna Karenina
  • It appeared, in answer to my inquiries, that nobody had the least idea of the etymology of this terrible verb passive to be gormed; but that they all regarded it as constituting a most solemn imprecation.
    Charles Dickens  --  David Copperfield
  • She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal.
    James Joyce  --  Dubliners
  • A curious passive inattention had such possession of her, that the presence of her little sister in the room did not attract her notice for some time.
    Charles Dickens  --  Hard Times
  • And if the fly, like my hero, shows a strength that promises to extricate him, how swiftly does she abandon her pretence of passiveness, and openly fling coil after coil about him until he is secured for ever!
    George Bernard Shaw  --  Man And Superman

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  • A week had passed in this way, and no suspicion of it conveyed by her quiet passive manner, when she was found one morning by her cousin Edmund, the youngest of the sons, sitting crying on the attic stairs.
    Jane Austen  --  Mansfield Park
  • I tell you, if I had stood by, tamely and passively, I should have hated myself, and merited the contempt of every man in existence.
    Charles Dickens  --  Nicholas Nickleby
  • Tom turned his cheek passively to meet her entreating kisses, and there gathered a moisture in his eyes, which he just rubbed away with his hand.
    George Eliot  --  The Mill on the Floss
  • CHAPTER XV He had been puzzled by the way that Catherine carried herself; her attitude at this sentimental crisis seemed to him unnaturally passive.
    Henry James  --  Washington Square
  • The quiet, almost passive young woman struck him as exactly the kind of person to whom things were bound to happen, no matter how much she shrank from them and went out of her way to avoid them.
    Edith Wharton  --  The Age of Innocence
  • The passive gods behold the Greeks defile Their temples, and abandon to the spoil Their own abodes: we, feeble few, conspire To save a sinking town, involv’d in fire.
    Virgil  --  The Aeneid
  • There had also been some passive resistance to the policy of the Overlords.
    Arthur C. Clarke  --  Childhood’s End
  • Paul stood passively as Kynes inspected the suit.
    Frank Herbert  --  Dune
  • He threw the bearskin over the sorrel, who stood passively by the roadside, hanging a meditative head.
    Edith Wharton  --  Ethan Frome
  • It would appear that he remained a long time in this attitude, no longer thinking, overwhelmed and passive beneath the hand of the demon.
    Victor Hugo  --  The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Sue regarded him passively without moving.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Jude the Obscure
  • …is bounded, and Finite: Nor that he is Moved, or Resteth: for both these Attributes ascribe to him Place: Nor that there be more Gods than one; because it implies them all Finite: for there cannot be more than one Infinite: Nor to ascribe to him (unlesse Metaphorically, meaning not the Passion, but the Effect) Passions that partake of Griefe; as Repentance, Anger, Mercy: or of Want; as Appetite, Hope, Desire; or of any Passive faculty: For Passion, is Power limited by somewhat else.
    Thomas Hobbes  --  Leviathan
  • She always felt wicked after it, for the pretty things were seldom necessaries, but then they cost so little, it wasn’t worth worrying about, so the trifles increased unconsciously, and in the shopping excursions she was no longer a passive looker-on.
    Louisa May Alcott  --  Little Women
  • The engineer of a passive tugboat hung lazily to a railing and watched.
    Stephen Crane  --  Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
  • He sat still and passive, his head resting against the back of the wooden rocking-chair, his hands relaxed upon the arms.
    Willa Cather  --  My Antonia
  • To wait his onset passively, for him Is sure success, for me assured defeat.
    Sophocles  --  Oedipus the King
  • What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When will and reason (reason also is choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil’d, Made passive both, had serv’d necessity, Not me.
    John Milton  --  Paradise Lost
  • She lay passive beneath their fingers, which developed the shock that had begun in the cave.
    E.M. Forster  --  A Passage to India
  • He submitted passively to the latter’s directing strength.
    Stephen Crane  --  The Red Badge of Courage
  • Instead of putting it off and hastening along, she yielded herself up to the pull, and stood passively still.
    Thomas Hardy  --  The Return of the Native
  • "You’re a deep little puss, you are," said Silas, with the mild passive happiness of love-crowned age in his face; "but you’ll make yourself fine and beholden to Aaron."
    George Eliot  --  Silas Marner
  • Carrie heard this passively.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  Sister Carrie
  • I should have thought Pablo a somewhat sleepy lover, spoiled and passive, but Maria assured me that though it took a long time to wake him up he was then more strenuous and forward and virile than prize fighter or riding master.
    Hermann Hesse  --  Steppenwolf
  • At this time of life a man has already been wounded more than once by the darts of love; it no longer evolves by itself, obeying its own incomprehensible and fatal laws, before his passive and astonished heart.
    Marcel Proust  --  Swann’s Way
  • "Yes, I know," returned Johnnie passively.
    Grace MacGowan Cooke  --  The Power and the Glory
  • …of Spain, and he had the enterprise still under discussion with the King of France; nevertheless he personally entered upon the expedition with his accustomed boldness and energy, a move which made Spain and the Venetians stand irresolute and passive, the latter from fear, the former from desire to recover the kingdom of Naples; on the other hand, he drew after him the King of France, because that king, having observed the movement, and desiring to make the Pope his friend so as to…
    Nicolo Machiavelli  --  The Prince
  • She inclined to be passive.
    Virginia Woolf  --  Mrs. Dalloway
  • The story occupied some recess of passive belief.
    Don DeLillo  --  White Noise
  • "All the same," said Poirot after a minute or two, "I have one project that will please you-since it is active and not passive.
    Agatha Christie  --  The ABC Murders
  • She wouldn’t humiliate herself by struggling away now, but stood passive.
    J.D. Robb  --  Naked in Death
  • The park bench where Nadine sat passively, blood drying on her skin, a knife at her throat.
    J.D. Robb  --  Glory in Death
  • Why, that she didn’t hold all the cards after all , that I had a certain passive hold over her.
    Stephen King  --  Misery
  • ’So I just thought, while they were looking ….’ He trailed off vaguely, and her feelings of depression — her feelings of sinking —feelings that were so unpleasant and yet so childishly passive, turned to a more active sense of fear.
    Stephen King  --  Cujo
  • But by the time she had got back to the village she was passively trusting to the favour of accident.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Tess of the d’Urbervilles
  • Leamas’ passive role that evening enabled him once again to admire the unadorned efficiency of Peters’ arrangements.
    John Le Carre  --  The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
  • He didn’t care whether his fellow-countrymen were good kickers or painters (none of the Czechs at the emigre gathering ever showed any interest in what Sabina painted); he cared whether they had opposed Communism actively or just passively, really and truly or just for appearances’ sake, from the very beginning or just since emigration.
    Milan Kundera  --  The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • His intellectual content seemed to submit passively to it, and it fitted like a glove everything that had ever preceded it in his life.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  This Side of Paradise
  • And meanwhile she waited, passively, for some one to answer her, for something to happen.
    Virginia Woolf  --  To the Lighthouse
  • When he looked back, therefore, and saw his friend stretched out on the ground, and found himself at the same time so roughly handled by one who had formerly been only passive in all conflicts between them (a circumstance which highly aggravated the whole), his patience at length gave way; he threw himself into a posture of offence; and collecting all his force, attacked Jones in the front with as much impetuosity as he had formerly attacked him in the rear.
    Henry Fielding  --  Tom Jones
  • Marie looked at her husband, his suddenly passive face outlined in the dim wash of the dashboard lights.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Ultimatum
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Associated words [difficulty]:   passive [1]
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