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From passive +‎ -ly.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈpæs.ɪ
  • (file)
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passively (not comparable)

  1. In a passive manner; without conscious or self-directed action.
    • 2000, Brian D. Wisenden, “Scents of Danger”, in Animal Signals: signalling and signal design in animal communication, page 369:
      Water flowed passively between tanks via the siphon.
    • 2007, Klaus Dieter Budras et al, Anatomy of the Dog, page 188:
      Due to this pressure aortic and pulmonary valves are opened passively and due to relaxation blood is sucked from the venae cavae into the atrium.
  2. In an acquiescent manner; resignedly or submissively.
    • 1997, Gary A. Olson, Todd W. Taylor, Publishing in Rhetoric and Composition, page 218:
      Paradoxically, the same faculty who complain about busyness are most likely to end up waiting passively. While they acquiescently wait to write, they busy themselves with other, often trivial, activities.
    • 1998, Wallace Collins, Dragon Fire, page 9:
      They were not waving at him but sat passively as if waiting to hear if what he had to say would be derogatory to their previous relationship.
  3. (grammar) In the passive voice; having a passive construction.
    • 2008, Timothy J. Conlan, Alice M. Rivlin, & Paul L. Posner, Intergovernmental Management for the Twenty-first Century, page 214:
      Statements phrased in an active voice, with a few outcome-oriented goals, improve school performance more than those stated passively with either multiple goals or goals focused on processes or behaviors.


Related terms[edit]


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