Definition of passive-aggressive in English:




  • Of or denoting a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials.

    ‘This was manifested by disparaging remarks, passive-aggressive behaviour, malicious gossip about me, passing off of ideas generated by me as his own and frequent use of abusive language to myself and others around him.’
    • ‘The steward's self-pity in his soliloquy suggests lack of control over his situation or a passive-aggressive personality.’
    • ‘That's what a passive-aggressive personality will get you.’
    • ‘Therefore you tell everyone he has a passive-aggressive personality and Asperger's Syndrome.’
    • ‘Chapters 4 and 5 focus on the importance of underlying beliefs that influence passive, aggressive, and passive-aggressive styles.’
    • ‘Therefore, their anger may be misdirected in passive-aggressive maneuvers such as sulking or destructive gossip, she says.’
    • ‘The result is often judgmental criticism, condescending sarcasm or, even, passive-aggressive retaliation.’
    • ‘Sometimes these emotions are expressed in passive-aggressive ways, sexual withdrawal being one manifestation.’
    • ‘And passive-aggressive lateness or forgetfulness certainly falls under this category.’
    • ‘Humor can also be used to be cruel in a passive-aggressive way.’
    • ‘Does this make kiwis a passive-aggressive people, second only to the English in our avoidance of public conflict?’
    • ‘Esther, my shopaholic, passive-aggressive, overly grandiose mother, loves to recount this story at least four or five times a year and always with great relish on my day of birth!’
    • ‘My dad was usually a passive-aggressive person, only when my mother pushed certain buttons did he tend to get irritated and ill-tempered.’
    • ‘I neither stated nor implied that my experiences with accusations of passive-aggressive behavior were representative.’
    • ‘To me it seems fairly ordinary, but I also live in a place filled with many passive-aggressive people and haven't been dating forever.’
    • ‘So, it turns out that I'm a passive-aggressive confrontation-shy milquetoast with a classic working class deference to power.’
    • ‘For others, though, it's a dreaded nightmare of confrontation and recrimination, self-destructive despair and passive-aggressive treachery.’
    • ‘Emily finally learns Lorelai is dating Luke, and demands to get reacquainted with him over a passive-aggressive dinner.’
    • ‘People who write diaries are helpless solipsists who want nothing more than to denigrate others and elevate their own achievements, but who are too repressed and passive-aggressive to do so publicly.’
    • ‘So long as people work soul-sucking jobs and find themselves in passive-aggressive dysfunctional relationships, his songs will never go out of style.’