Medical Definition of Passive-aggressive

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Passive-aggressive: Pertaining to behavior in which feelings of aggression are expressed in passive ways as, for example, by stubbornness, sullenness, procrastination, or intentional inefficiency.

The term passive-aggressive behavior was coined by military psychiatrists in a 1945 US War Department technical bulletin to describe soldiers who employed a mixture of passive resistance and grumbling compliance.

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