Medical Definition of Passive-aggressive

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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