from The Century Dictionary.

  • In grammar, of or pertaining to the passive voice.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun grammar An archaic progressive construction in middle voice (syntactically active but semantically passive), replaced by the passive progressive in modern English. For example, "the house is building", "the meal was eating", "the trunks were carrying down" (today "the house is being built", "the meal is being eaten").


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

passive +‎ -al


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  • Example:

    Here’s another good example of the esteemed passival from T.B. Macaulay’s “The History of England from the Accession of James II”:

    It was much noticed that, while the foulest judicial murder which had disgraced even those times was perpetrating, a tempest burst forth, such as had not been known since that great hurricane which had raged round the death-bed of Oliver.


    July 13, 2011