double negative


Definition of double negative

: a now nonstandard syntactic construction containing two negatives and having a negative meaning "I didn't hear nothing" is a double negative

Examples of double negative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Warren, a former high school debate champion, responds this time with a double negative. Michael Scherer, The Denver Post, "What you missed while not watching Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate," 16 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'double negative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of double negative

1820, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for double negative

Time Traveler

The first known use of double negative was in 1820

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Statistics for double negative

Last Updated

3 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Double negative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for double negative

double negative


English Language Learners Definition of double negative

grammar : a clause that has two negative words (such as "nothing" and "don't") when only one is necessary

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