A Chapter by Jordan

I am seeing more of where this is leading me, so please bear with me as I continue on with my work on this.


passion (n.)
late 12c., "sufferings of Christ on the Cross," from Old French passion "Christ's passion, physical suffering" (10c.), from Late Latin passionem (nominative passio) "suffering, enduring," from past participle stem of Latin pati "to suffer, endure," possibly from PIE root *pe(i)- "to hurt" (cf. Sanskrit pijati "reviles, scorns," Greek pema "suffering, misery, woe," Old English feond "enemy, devil," Gothic faian "to blame").

Sense extended to sufferings of martyrs, and suffering generally, by early 13c.; meaning "strong emotion, desire" is attested from late 14c., from Late Latin use of passio to render Greek pathos. Replaced Old English þolung (used in glosses to render Latin passio), literally "suffering," from þolian (v.) "to endure."

Sense of "sexual love" first attested 1580s; that of "strong liking, enthusiasm, predilection" is from 1630s. The passion-flower so called from 1630s.

The name passionflower -- flos passionis -- arose from the supposed resemblance of the corona to the crown of thorns, and of the other parts of the flower to the nails, or wounds, while the five sepals and five petals were taken to symbolize the ten apostles -- Peter ... and Judas ... being left out of the reckoning. ["Encyclopaedia Britannica," 1885]


Passion (n.)

often capitalized
a :  the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death
b :  an oratorio (
a large piece of music for a group of singers and musicians that is usually about a religious subject) based on a gospel narrative of the Passion
2 obsolete :  suffering
3:  the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces
4a (1) :  emotion passion is greed> (2) plural :  the emotions as distinguished from reason
b :  intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction
c :  an outbreak of anger
5a :  ardent affection :  love
b :  a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept
c :  sexual desire
d :  an object of desire or deep interest


I have been tossing this idea around in my head for quite sometime now. What is passion? How does it define people, make them who they are? What was the original meaning of the word? How as it evolved today?

In the early stages of the word, there were religious connotations; sacred connotations, because "passion" spoke of suffering in these case. At its Latin root, it means to endure great suffering. Later, it was tied to love and romance.

Up until the early 20th century, passion was reserved for men and men alone; it was considered a madness of sorts. Women were discouraged from pursuing passionate endeavors such as art, philosophy, religion, poetry, and music, to name some, because women were already thought to feel things much more acutely than men and were told to exhibit and exercise control and caution with their emotions, being a serene picture of forbearance and calm.

Now, in the 21st century, passion seems to be absent from so much and even the word is rarely used (ironically enough, along with "ardor" which means "great love"). It just seems to have fallen out of use and perhaps even become obsolete. People today use words that pale in comparison and many seem to even feel emotions that pale in comparison of such as passion. (How sad to see language so brutally and carelessly decimated for the sole purpose of convenience!)

Wordsworth, Blake, Keats, Byron, the Brownings (especially Elizabeth) and Eliot are just some of the poets and writers who had great passion. Within their lives, they felt such deep, moving, torturous emotions that they suffered greatly and could not contain themselves when feeling them. They endured distress and they used it to create their art, their masterpieces, to raise an awareness.

Saints, book characters, and so many others- people that have done such wonders and created such movements to make history within the world that changed it- experienced great suffering, great feeling to cause pain, emotional distress, and physical illness or trauma that their passion was the original meaning of the word- suffering, a great suffering and distress.

Today, sadly enough, we see so few who are willing to be that passionate, that free with their emotions, that ardorous with their love and adoration. Have we become such an apathetic society? Are they hidden? Is it more convenient to feel less?

You decide.

© 2013 Jordan

Author's Note

This is something I have just been tossing around in my head and I wanted to get it down before I forgot it. As of September 18, 2013, I am seeing more of where I am going with this, but it's still a work in progress, so feedback is much appreciated!!!

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Added on September 16, 2013
Last Updated on September 21, 2013
Tags: passion, Christ, origin, Latin



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