The Meaning of Passion: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of passion? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word passion, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word passion mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word passion is a noun that refers to a very strong feeling about something or a strong belief in something. Someone might have lifelong passions for a certain cause like animal welfare, or they might have a short-lived passion about a band or artist in a musical setting. Passion is a state of the mind, and can be used for both good and bad. This is often an innate quality or attribute of a thing, but can also come and go over time. One might have an outburst of passionate envy, distress or grief, with a passion of sobs. Someone might passionately support a noble cause.

Sometimes, people also use this word to refer to the powerful emotion associated with sexual love. This ardent affection and strong sexual desire or romantic love are far different from this next definition of passion. Passion is two syllables – pass-ion, and the pronunciation of passion is ˈpæʃən. 

According to Dictionary, the word passion can also refer to the physical suffering of a martyr, especially in Christianity. You will often hear people refer to the Passion of the Christ, which refers to Jesus Christ’s sufferings on the cross and the accounts of such in the Bible or Biblical texts, like the Last Supper. The sufferings of Jesus, his martyrdom and crucifixion are supposed to absolve the world of sinful desire and allow them repentance. This can also be used medically as in a cardiac passion, or under subjection to an external agent or influence, as in a passive condition. 

There are numerous different languages that contain words meaning passion. In looking at this list of translations of passion from Word Sense, you may notice that some of these words look and sound a lot like the word passion. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. 

  •  French: passion‎ (fem.)
  •  Ukrainian: страсть‎ (fem.)
  •  Latin: perturbatio‎ (fem.)
  •  Greek: πάθος‎ (neut.)
  •  Irish: ainmhian‎ (fem.)
  •  Hungarian: szenvedély‎
  •  Slovene: strast‎ (fem.)
  •  Georgian: ვნება‎, ჟინი‎, გზნება‎, გატაცება‎
  •  Maltese: passjoni‎ (fem.)
  •  Maori: korou‎, awata‎
  •  Finnish: intohimo‎
  •  Czech: vášeň‎ (fem.)
  •  Italian: passione‎ (fem.)
  •  Old English: þolung‎ (fem.), weamet‎ (fem.), ontendnes‎ (fem.), mihtmod‎ (neut.), bryne‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: 激情‎ (げきじょう, gekijō)
  •  Dutch: passie‎ (fem.), hartstocht‎ (masc.)
  •  Scottish Gaelic: dìoghras‎ (masc.), dèine‎ (fem.), sonas‎ (masc.), fearg‎ (fem.)
  •  Mandarin: 激情‎ (jīqíng), 热情‎, 热心‎
  •  Galician: paixón‎ (fem.)
  •  Armenian: կիրք‎
  •  Nynorsk: lidenskap‎ (masc.)
  •  Novial: pasione‎
  •  Vietnamese: đam mê‎
  •  Urdu: جذبہ‎ (jazba)
  •  Swedish: passion‎ (common), lust‎ (common), lidelse‎ (common), kärlek‎ (common), glöd‎ (neut.), hänförelse‎ (common), affekt‎ (common)
  •  Sorani: ڤیان‎ (viAn)
  •  Romanian: pasiune‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: страсть‎ (fem.), аффе́кт‎ (masc.)
  •  Persian: شوق‎ (šovq)
  •  Bulgarian: страст‎ (fem.)
  •  Bokmål: lidenskap‎ (masc.)
  •  Syriac: ܚܫܐ‎
  •  German: Leidenschaft‎ (fem.), Passion‎ (fem.)
  •  Portuguese: paixão‎ (fem.)
  •  Arabic: عَاطِفَة‎ (fem.)
  •  Serbo-Croatian: страст‎ (fem.), strast‎ (fem.)
  •  Ido: pasiono‎
  •  Spanish: pasión‎ (fem.)

What is the origin of the word passion?

According to Etymonline, the word passion has been used since c12 in Middle English to refer to the death of Christ. This comes from the Old French passion/passiōn, a c10 word. This comes from the Late Latin passionem, Medieval Latin passiō, Church Latin passiō, and Late Latin passio, and the past-participle stem of the Latin pati and passus. This past participle of patī is of Proto-Indo-European roots.

How can the word passion be used in a sentence?

The word passion can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making a quiz or flashcards for yourself to test your knowledge of different definitions. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are a few examples of passion to get you started.

She had a deep passion for musical composition and rose through the ranks to be one of the top film score composers in the world. 

They were undergoing a deep, short lived passion for one another. They knew they would only be in the same city for a couple of weeks, so they made the most of it.

What are synonyms and antonyms of passion?

In the English language, there are many different words that a person could use in place of the word passion. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. These are very useful in expanding your vocabulary and helping you avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms of passion is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  avidity
  •  attachment
  •  concupiscence
  •  feeling
  •  vehemence
  •  intensity
  •  fascination
  •  desire
  •  fire
  •  frenzy
  •  warmth
  •  affection
  •  zest
  •  devotedness
  •  appetite
  •  lust
  •  rage
  •  craving
  •  ardour
  •  infatuation
  •  spirit
  •  fervency
  •  love
  •  fury
  •  zeal
  •  fervor
  •  energy
  •  heat
  •  longing
  •  vigor
  •  emotion
  •  obsession
  •  fervour
  •  itch
  •  mania
  •  ardor
  •  hunger
  •  keenness
  •  thirst
  •  eagerness
  •  yearning
  •  devotion
  •  gusto
  •  hankering
  •  animation
  •  verve
  •  enthusiasm
  •  excitement
  •  craze
  •  fondness

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word passion. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another great way to work on expanding your English vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word passion is also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  disfavor
  •  disrelish
  •  aloofness
  •  dislike
  •  antagonism
  •  insouciance
  •  dullness
  •  enmity
  •  contempt
  •  rancor
  •  disliking
  •  unconcern
  •  bad feeling
  •  coolness
  •  disfavour
  •  bitterness
  •  lethargy
  •  revulsion
  •  impassivity
  •  coldness
  •  animus
  •  insensibility
  •  antipathy
  •  disgust
  •  repulsion
  •  no feeling
  •  frigidness
  •  chastity
  •  phlegm
  •  hate
  •  repugnance
  •  allergy
  •  calmness
  •  abhorrence
  •  distaste
  •  aversion
  •  boredom
  •  stoicism
  •  hostility
  •  indifference
  •  abomination
  •  apathy
  •  animosity
  •  insensitiveness
  •  disinterest
  •  insensitivity
  •  detestation
  •  loathing
  •  frigidity
  •  hatred 

Overall, the word passion means a strong affection or strong romantic interest. The object of an intense desire may be one of sexual or romantic attraction, or it could be something that someone is simply very fond of in a more figurative sense. It can also refer to the death of a Christian martyr. In Christian theology, this usually refers to the death of Christ and sufferings of Christ, celebrated on the fifth Sunday in Lent. 


  1. passion: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Passion synonyms – 1 041 Words and Phrases for Passion | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Passion antonyms – 502 Opposites of Passion | Power Thesaurus  
  4. Passion | Definition of Passion | 
  5. Passion definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  6. passion | Origin and meaning of passion | Online Etymology Dictionary