1

negative

adjective neg·a·tive \ ˈne-gə-tiv \
Updated on: 11 Dec 2017

Definition of negative

1 a : marked by denial, prohibition, or refusal
  • received a negative answer
; also : marked by absence, withholding, or removal of something positive
  • the negative motivation of shame
  • —Garrett Hardin
b (1) : denying a predicate (see 1predicate 1a) of a subject or a part of a subject
  • "no A is B" is a negative proposition
(2) : denoting the absence or the contradictory of something
  • nontoxic is a negative term
(3) : expressing negation
  • negative particles such as no and not
c : adverse, unfavorable
  • the reviews were mostly negative
2 a : lacking positive qualities; especially : disagreeable
  • a colorless negative personality
b : marked by features of hostility, withdrawal, or pessimism (see pessimism 1) that hinder or oppose constructive treatment or development
  • a negative outlook
  • negative criticism
c : promoting a person or cause by criticizing or attacking the competition
  • ran a negative campaign
  • negative advertising
3 a (1) : less than zero and opposite in sign to a positive (see 1positive 4e) number that when added to the given number yields zero
  • −2 is a negative number
(2) : having more outgo than income : constituting a loss
  • negative cash flow
  • negative worth
b : extending or generated in a direction opposite to an arbitrarily chosen regular direction or position
  • negative angle
4 a : being, relating to, or charged with electricity of which the electron is the elementary unit
b : having more electrons than protons
  • a negative ion
c (1) : having lower electric potential (see 1potential 2b) and constituting the part toward which the current (see 2current 3) flows from the external circuit
  • the negative pole
(2) : being the electron-emitting electrode (see electrode 2) of an electron tube
5 a : not affirming the presence of a condition, substance, or organism suspected to be present; also : having a test result indicating the absence especially of a condition, substance, or organism
  • she is HIV negative
b : directed or moving away from a source of stimulation
  • negative tropism
c : less than the pressure of the atmosphere
  • negative pressure
6 : having the light and dark parts in approximately inverse (see 1inverse 1) relation to those of the original photographic subject
7 of a lens : diverging (see diverge 1) light rays and forming a virtual inverted image

negatively

adverb

negativeness

noun

negativity

play \ˌne-gə-ˈti-və-tē\ noun

Examples of negative in a Sentence

  1. Car exhaust has a negative effect on the environment.

  2. the negative effects of the drug

  3. The feedback about the new product was all negative.

Recent Examples of negative from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of negative

Middle English negatyff, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French negatif, borrowed from Latin negātīvus "(of legal actions) restraining, (of words) denying," from negātus (past participle of negāre "to say no, deny") + -īvus -ive


2

negative

noun

Definition of negative

1 a (1) : a reply that indicates the withholding of assent : refusal
(2) archaic : a right of veto
(3) obsolete : an adverse vote : veto
b : a proposition which denies or contradicts another; especially : the one of a pair of propositions in which negation is expressed
2 a : something that is the opposite or negation of something else
3 a : an expression (such as the word no) of negation or denial
b : a negative number
4 : the side that upholds the contradictory proposition in a debate
5 : a negative photographic image on transparent material used for printing positive pictures; also : the material that carries such an image
6 : a reverse impression taken from a piece of sculpture or ceramics
7 : a negative result (as of a test)
  • a high rate of false negatives
; also : a test yielding such a result
in the negative
: with a negative reply : with a reply that means "no"
  • He answered in the negative.

Examples of negative in a Sentence

  1. “No” and “not” are negatives.

  2. Can I have the negatives to make copies of the photos?

Recent Examples of negative from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of negative

Middle English negatif "negative command, prohibition," borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French negative, borrowed from Late Latin negātīva "negative command or statement," from feminine of Latin negātīvus "(of legal actions) restraining, (of words) denying" — more at 1negative

negative Synonyms

Synonyms
nay, no, non placet
Antonyms
positive, yea, yes
Related Words
con; blackball, veto; denial, negation, refusal
Near Antonyms
pro; acceptance, approval, grace

3

negative

verb

Definition of negative

negatived; negativing
transitive verb
1 a : to refuse assent to
b : to reject by or as if by a vote
2 : to demonstrate the falsity of
3 : to deny the truth, reality, or validity of

Examples of negative in a Sentence

  1. although the rebuttal was very eloquent, the jury negatived it in favor of the prosecution's argument

  2. we promptly negatived the idea of having pizza again for dinner, noting that we had already had it for three nights that week

Origin and Etymology of negative

derivative of 1negative

negative Synonyms



NEGATIVE Defined for English Language Learners

negative

adjective

Definition of negative for English Language Learners

  • : harmful or bad : not wanted

  • : thinking about the bad qualities of someone or something : thinking that a bad result will happen : not hopeful or optimistic

  • : expressing dislike or disapproval


negative

noun

Definition of negative for English Language Learners

  • : something that is harmful or bad

  • : a word or statement that means “no” or that expresses a denial or refusal

  • : an image on film that is used to make a printed photograph and that has light areas where the photograph will be dark and dark areas where the photograph will be light; also : the film that has such an image


NEGATIVE Defined for Kids

1

negative

adjective neg·a·tive \ ˈne-gə-tiv \

Definition of negative for Students

1 : emphasizing the bad side of a person, situation, or thing
  • a negative attitude
  • Whenever I ask her how she's doing, her reply is negative.
2 : not positive
  • His test results came back negative.
3 : less than zero and shown by a minus sign
  • −2 is a negative number.
4 : being the part toward which the electric current flows from the outside circuit
  • the negative pole of a storage battery
5 : of, being, or relating to electricity of which the electron is the unit and which is produced in a hard rubber rod that has been rubbed with wool
  • a negative charge
6 : having more electrons than protons
  • a negative particle

negatively

adverb

negativity

\ˌne-gə-ˈti-və-tē\ noun

Word Root of negative

The Latin word negāre, meaning “to deny” or “to say no,” and its form negātus give us the root neg. Words from the Latin negāre have something to do with saying no. Anything negative, such as a reply to a question, denies something or responds by saying no. To renege is to go back on, or deny, an agreement or promise. Even the last letters of deny, to declare something to be false, come from negāre.


2

negative

noun

Definition of negative for Students

1 : a part of something which is harmful or bad
  • Consider the negatives of quitting school.
2 : an expression (as the word no) that denies or says the opposite
3 : the side that argues or votes against something
4 : a photographic image on film from which a final picture is made

Medical Dictionary

1

negative

adjective neg·a·tive \ ˈneg-ət-iv \

medical Definition of negative

1 : marked by denial, prohibition, or refusal
  • received a negative answer
2 : marked by features (as hostility, withdrawal, or pessimism) that hinder or oppose constructive treatment or development
  • a negative outlook
3 a : being, relating to, or charged with electricity of which the electron is the elementary unit
b : having more electrons than protons
  • negative ions
c (1) : having lower electrical potential and constituting the part toward which the current flows from the external circuit
  • the negative pole
(2) : being the electron-emitting electrode of an electron tube
4 a : not affirming the presence of a condition, substance, or organism suspected to be present; also : having a test result indicating the absence especially of a condition, substance, or organism
  • she is HIV negative
b : directed or moving away from a source of stimulation
  • negative tropism
5 : having the light and dark parts in approximately inverse relation to those of the original photographic subject

negatively

adverb

2

negative

noun

medical Definition of negative

1 : a negative photographic image on transparent material used for printing positive pictures; also : the material that carries such an image
2 : a negative result (as of a test); also : a test yielding such a result


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