double negative


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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Warren, a former high school debate champion, responds this time with a double negative. Michael Scherer, The Denver Post, 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.

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 26 Nov. 2022.

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")
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