late 14c., passif, of matter, "capable of being acted upon;" of persons, "receptive;" also in the grammatical sense "expressive of being affected by some action" (opposed to active), from Old French passif "suffering, undergoing hardship" (14c.) and directly from Latin passivus "capable of feeling or suffering," from pass-, past-participle stem of pati "to suffer" (see passion).
The meaning "not active or acting" is recorded from late 15c.; the sense of "unresisting, not opposing, enduring suffering without resistance" is from 1620s. Related: Passively. As a noun, late 14c. as "a capacity in matter for being acted upon;" also in grammar, "a passive verb."
Passive resistance is attested in 1819 in Scott's "Ivanhoe" and was used throughout 19c.; it was re-coined by Gandhi c. 1906 in South Africa. Passive-aggressive with reference to behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance but avoidance of direct confrontation is attested by 1971.
Indian form of passive resistance, 1920, in writings of Gandhi, from Sanskrit satyagraha "insistence on truth," from satya "truth, truthfulness" (from sat- "existing, true, virtuous," from PIE root *es- "to be") + agraha "pertinacity," from gṛbhṇāti, gṛhṇāti "he seizes" (from PIE root *ghrebh- (1) "to seize, reach;" see grab (v.)). Related: Satyagrahi.
"willful and persistent resistance to legitimate authority," c. 1200, from Old French contumace and directly from Latin contumacia "perseverance in one's purpose or opinions," generally in a bad sense, "arrogance, inflexibility, haughtiness, insolence," also especially "obstinate disobedience to a judicial order," abstract noun from stem of contumax (see contumely).
early 15c., resistent, "making resistance or opposition," from present-participle stem of Latin resistere "make a stand against, oppose" (see resist). In later use from from French résistant, present participle of résister. In reference to the condition of not being overcome by diseases or drugs, from 1897.
"make blunt resistance to, put off with abrupt denial," 1580s, from obsolete French rebuffer "to check, snub," from Italian ribuffare "to check, chide, snide," from ribuffo "a snub," from ri- "back" (from Latin re-, see re-) + buffo "a puff," a word of imitative origin (compare buffoon, also buffet (n.2)). Related: Rebuffed; rebuffing.