passive-aggressive behavior

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Also found in: Acronyms.

pas·sive-ag·gres·sive be·hav·ior

apparently compliant behavior, with intrinsic obstructive or stubborn qualities, to cover deeply felt aggressive feelings that cannot be more directly expressed.

pas·sive-ag·gres·sive be·ha·vi·or

(pasiv-ă-gresiv bĕ-hāvyŏr)
Apparently compliant behavior, with intrinsic obstructive or stubborn qualities, to cover deeply held aggressive feelings that cannot be more directly expressed.

passive-aggressive behavior,

n behavior that reflects hostility or resentment through indirect nonviolent means, such as procrastination, inefficiency, forgetfulness, and stubbornness.
References in periodicals archive ?
Moreover, researchers suggest that the measuring of violent acts is vastly understated in that the figures do not reflect verbal, indirect, and passive aggressive behaviors which are more pervasive (Baron & Neuman, 1996; Elliot & Jarrett, 1994; Harlan, 1995).
In this context, it was no surprise that the response of most of Kern's staff to those staff members who didn't conform to the norms of the twelve step belief system, or who attempted to expose and correct obvious flaws, was to engage in a variety of passive aggressive behaviors, avoiding direct confrontation, until the nonconformers were "frozen out" and induced to resign.

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