Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) production and the prevalence of the β-lactamase-encoding gene blaTEM were determined in Prevotella isolates (n=50) cultured from the respiratory tract of adults and young people with cystic fibrosis (CF). Time-kill studies were used to investigate the concept of passive antibiotic resistance and to ascertain whether a β-lactamase-positive Prevotella isolate can protect a recognised CF pathogen from the action of ceftazidime in vitro. The results indicated that approximately three-quarters (38/50; 76%) of Prevotella isolates produced ESBLs. Isolates positive for ESBL production had higher minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of β-lactam antibiotics compared with isolates negative for production of ESBLs (P<0.001). The blaTEM gene was detected more frequently in CF Prevotella isolates from paediatric patients compared with isolates from adults (P=0.002), with sequence analysis demonstrating that 21/22 (95%) partial blaTEM genes detected were identical to blaTEM-116. Furthermore, a β-lactamase-positive Prevotella isolate protected Pseudomonas aeruginosa from the antimicrobial effects of ceftazidime (P=0.03). Prevotella isolated from the CF respiratory microbiota produce ESBLs and may influence the pathogenesis of chronic lung infection via indirect methods, including shielding recognised pathogens from the action of ceftazidime.