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 Red flags for shoppers include confusing language, such as double negatives. Jenn McMillen, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 His use of a double negative makes the remark even more confusing. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 1 Aug. 2023 It’s got an odd double negative, but weak syntax is no impediment here. Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2021 Warren, a former high school debate champion, responds this time with a double negative. Michael Scherer, The Denver Post, 16 Oct. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'double negative.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1820, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of double negative was in 1820

Dictionary Entries Near double negative

Cite this Entry

“Double negative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

double negative

: a now nonstandard grammatical construction that contains two negatives and has a negative meaning (as in "I didn't hear nothing" instead of "I didn't hear anything")
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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