Definition for PAS'SIVE

PAS'SIVE, a. [It. passivo; Sp. pasivo; Fr. passif; L. passivus, from passus, patior, to suffer.]

  1. Suffering; not acting, receiving or capable of receiving impressions from external agents. We were passive spectators, not actors in the scene. The mind is wholly passive in the reception of all its simple ideas. – Locke. God is not in any respect passive. – Bradwardine.
  2. Unresisting; not opposing; receiving or suffering without resistance; as, passive obedience; passive submission to the laws. Passive verb, in grammar, is a verb which expresses passion, or the effect of an action of some agent; as, in L. doceor, I am taught; in English, she is loved and admired by her friends; he is assailed by slander. Passive obedience, as used by writers on government, denotes not only quiet unresisting submission to power, but implies the denial of the right of resistance, or the recognition of the duty to submit in all cases to the existing government. Passive prayer, among mystic divines, is a suspension of the activity of the soul or intellectual faculties, the soul remaining quiet and yielding only to the impulses of grace. – Encyc. Passive commerce, trade in which the productions of a country are carried by foreigners in their own bottoms. [See Active commerce.]

Return to page 34 of the letter “P”.