When I finally consented, two decades ago, to using the necessary phrase “passive aggressive,” I felt awful, and beaten, like I had fallen off the wagon.

But I am clean again! A dear friend employed the phrase defensive envenomater this fine afternoon to describe a snake that doesn’t seek to introduce sickening venom into its prey but nonetheless will when forced into a particularly vulnerable posture.

Defensive envenomater is better than “passive aggressive person” for many reasons (I won’t be pedantic and spell them all out), though I know it replaces only some of the latter phrase’s meanings.

I also prefer the noun phrase to an adjective phrase; I like a person to blame.

(h/t MH)

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