|Passion, such a powerful word, so loaded with meaning, so many different meanings depending on the context. I love it, so it’s number five in my occasional series ‘Words I Love’. What are yours?
1. A powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred, or anger.
a. Ardent love.
b. Strong sexual desire; lust.
c. The object of such love or desire.
a. Boundless enthusiasm: His skills as a player don’t quite match his passion for the game.
b. The object of such enthusiasm: Soccer is her passion.
4. An abandoned display of emotion, especially of anger: He’s been known to fly into a passion without warning.
a. The sufferings of Jesus in the period following the Last Supper and including the Crucifixion, as related in the New Testament.
b. A narrative, musical setting, or pictorial representation of Jesus’s sufferings.
6. Archaic Martyrdom.
7. Archaic Passivity.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin passi, passin-, sufferings of Jesus or a martyr, from Late Latin, physical suffering, martyrdom, sinful desire, from Latin, an undergoing, from passus, past participle of pat, to suffer; see p(i)- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: passion, fervor, fire, zeal, ardor
These nouns denote powerful, intense emotion. Passion is a deep, overwhelming emotion: “There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy” (Richard Brinsley Sheridan).
The term may signify sexual desire or anger: “He flew into a violent passion and abused me mercilessly” (H.G. Wells).
Fervor is great warmth and intensity of feeling: “The union of the mathematician with the poet, fervor with measure, passion with correctness, this surely is the ideal” (William James).
Fire is burning passion: “In our youth our hearts were touched with fire” (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.)
Zeal is strong, enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal and tireless diligence in its furtherance: “Laurie [resolved], with a glow of philanthropic zeal, to found and endow an institution for … women with artistic tendencies” (Louisa May Alcott).
Ardor is fiery intensity of feeling: “the furious ardor of my zeal repressed” (Charles Churchill). See Also Synonyms at feeling.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003