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passive-aggressive (PAS-iv uh-GRES-iv) adjective

Relating to a personality disorder characterized by expression of aggressive behavior in a passive way, such as procrastination, stubbornness, or inefficiency.

[From Latin passivus (submissive) and aggredi (to attack). The term was first introduced to describe uncooperative soldiers, in a 1945 US War Department technical bulletin. Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder is no longer recognized as a proper diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association.]

"Redford's passive-aggressive style of oppression he used to sneak into and out of his office from a back door so as not to have to encounter his staff is simply not as sexy as Weinstein's androgen-propelled tyranny." Deborah Hill Cone; Books: It's Right Down And Dirty in Tinsel Town; The National Business Review (Auckland, New Zealand); Mar 5, 2004.

"The author's voice is brisk and purposeful, yet the reader's imagination is never cheated. There is still ample room for one to picture and relate to the bittersweet scenarios from the passive-aggressive meetings in Caris's parents' living room and the spats between Caris and her combative elder sister, Stella ..." Izuan Shah; Family Troubles; The Star (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia); Feb 27, 2004.

This week's theme: Words that appear contradictory.


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