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What is the German word / expression for "passive aggressive"? The closest I've found, would be, how one might expect, passiv aggressiv (see here). Unfortunately this term only really seems to be applicable in psychology texts and such and not really in day-to-day usage.

So what would be the "casual" translation in German? If there isn't an exact one, close substitutes would be OK I guess...

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1  
I think it is just as fine and "daily" as it is in English... –  Emanuel Feb 11 at 16:29
    
I feel like among the closest concepts might be Insubordination, but that relates to the "good" old days of Untertan and Obrigkeitshörigkeit. –  Hagen von Eitzen Feb 11 at 18:32

4 Answers 4

"Passiv-aggressiv" ist meiner Meinung ein Oxymoron. Entweder man ist passiv oder aggressiv. Beides gleichzeitig geht nicht. "Passiv-aggressiv" erscheint mir als ein typisch amerikanischer Begriff, um jemandem, der nicht macht, was man will, eine reinzuwürgen (Stichwort aggressiv, aber er tut ja nichts, also setze ich noch das "passiv" dazu, um das "aggressiv" behalten und ihm die Schuld geben zu können).

Im Deutschen würde ich "unkooperativ" sagen oder konkret benennen, was derjenige macht; zB "er verschränkt die Arme und meidet den Blickkontakt, wenn ich mit ihm reden will".

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+1 für angewandte kritische Vernunft! Das Fazit wäre, so einen psychologisierenden Blödsinn wie "passiv aggressiv" nicht zu verwenden. –  Ingo Feb 13 at 9:59
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Passive aggressive is not an oxymoron. "Passive" refers to behaviour, "aggressive" can refer to behaviour or to feelings. So it is possible to behave passively and feel aggressive, and this is exactly what the compound means. "Unkooperativ" doesn't capture this meaning, and your second description may describe "passive aggressive" or something completely different like "apathisch", "zurückgezogen". –  Turion Feb 13 at 10:53
    
@Turion I doubt that "aggressive" can properly describe a feeling. To convince me, please name an "aggressive feeling". –  Ingo Feb 15 at 11:41
    
Here's an example of passive-aggressive behaviour: imagine two people have a conflict. A refuses to speak with B in order to make B feel bad and also to make sure the conflict cannot be solved, and if possible to make B more angry and thus demonstrate superiority/power: A tries to steer the feelings of B. The behaviour is passive: outwardly nothing is done, but it is also aggressive: A tries to subdue B. –  cbeleites Feb 15 at 16:35
    
(By the way: the loudest claims that passive-aggressive cannot exist I heard from people who were experts at using such techniques... though of course that was during a conflict, not on definition/terminology Q&A pages) –  cbeleites Feb 15 at 16:37

From what I hear around myself in the recent past, passiv-aggressiv is making its way into everyday german, simply because we don't have a suitable less-literal translation (as we already see in this thread)

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Depending on the context, I'd probably use something like "abweisend" or "feindselig".

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Which do not mean the same –  Emanuel Feb 11 at 16:30
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You should provide context and reasoning for that. Well either way, welcome to German.Stackexchange –  Vogel612 Feb 11 at 16:36
    
@Emanuel Well, at least it means something Could anybody explain what passive aggressive is supposed to mean? See also Roberts answer. Down with Neusprech! –  Ingo Feb 13 at 10:01

unterschwellig feindselig - subliminal hostile

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