negative

adjective
neg·​a·​tive | \ ˈne-gə-tiv How to pronounce negative (audio) \

Definition of negative

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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 predicate entry 1 sense 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
2a : lacking positive qualities especially : disagreeable a colorless negative personality
b : marked by features of hostility, withdrawal, or pessimism (see pessimism sense 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
3a(1) : less than zero and opposite in sign to a positive (see positive entry 1 sense 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
4a : 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 potential entry 1 sense 2b) and constituting the part toward which the current (see current entry 2 sense 3) flows from the external circuit the negative pole
(2) : being the electron-emitting electrode (see electrode sense 2) of an electron tube
5a : 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 inverse entry 1 sense 1) relation to those of the original photographic subject
7 of a lens : diverging (see diverge sense 1) light rays and forming a virtual inverted image

negative

noun

Definition of negative (Entry 2 of 3)

1a(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
2a : something that is the opposite or negation of something else
3a : 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.

negative

verb
negatived; negativing

Definition of negative (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : 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

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Other Words from negative

Adjective

negatively adverb
negativeness noun
negativity \ ˌne-​gə-​ˈti-​və-​tē How to pronounce negativity (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for negative

Synonyms: Adjective

adversarial, adversary, antagonistic, antipathetic, hostile, inhospitable, inimical, jaundiced, mortal, unfriendly, unsympathetic

Synonyms: Noun

nay, no, non placet

Synonyms: Verb

blackball, down, kill, nix, shoot down, veto

Antonyms: Adjective

friendly, hospitable, nonantagonistic, nonhostile, sympathetic

Antonyms: Noun

positive, yea, yes

Antonyms: Verb

confirm, ratify

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Examples of negative in a Sentence

Adjective

Car exhaust has a negative effect on the environment. the negative effects of the drug The feedback about the new product was all negative.

Noun

“No” and “not” are negatives. Can I have the negatives to make copies of the photos?

Verb

although the rebuttal was very eloquent, the jury negatived it in favor of the prosecution's argument we promptly negatived the idea of having pizza again for dinner, noting that we had already had it for three nights that week
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

When past cabinet secretaries have attracted negative headlines, Mr Trump has often started out strongly supportive and then soured as the withering critiques continued. The Economist, "Was Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal fishy?," 13 July 2019 In many, however, a pickup truck, a freeze box, and a couple of rifles will get the job done — and without any of the negative externalities that mark the more modern, industrial approach. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, "Why Shoot Prairie Dogs?," 11 July 2019 Some of the negative calls had also been recorded among goats that were kept in isolation for five minutes. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Goats May Be Able to Tell When Their Buddies Are Feeling Good or Baaad," 10 July 2019 Here are three positive and three negative performances from Tuesday's All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Best and worst performances from 2019 MLB All-Star Game," 10 July 2019 Quarterman is a downhill, punishing hitter who explodes through the line of scrimmage to force negative plays, and Manny Diaz likes to use him in a number of different ways, particularly as a blitzer. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Top 100 College Football Players of 2019: Nos. 50–26," 10 July 2019 Harris County accounted for all of the negative losses in domestic migration for the region from 2016 through 2018 - more than 100,000 residents. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Report shows at current pace, Houston won't overtake Chicago for another 25 years," 10 July 2019 Remain engaged and upbeat at work, and resist the temptation to share your negative views. Anchorage Daily News, "What to do when you love the job, but hate your boss," 9 July 2019 Many of us expect that taking a holiday will be enough to cure the exhaustion, stress, and negative feelings that characterize burnout. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Going on vacation won’t cure your burnout," 9 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But all the negatives and reasoning behind not wanting to be a Warrior came roaring back on the first official day of the 2009-10 season. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Drafting Stephen Curry," 25 June 2019 The film was developed, and then the negatives were placed in envelopes, labeled and placed in a cabinet. Richard Vokes, The Conversation, "Thousands of recently discovered photographs document life in Uganda during Idi Amin’s reign," 25 June 2019 But with or without a draft, ROTC belongs on college campuses, lest our universities become removed from reality in a way that exacerbates the negatives of the ivory tower mystique. Jeff Rice, Twin Cities, "Jeff Rice: I damaged the ROTC offices at Northwestern University. Here’s how — and why — I atone," 24 June 2019 Industry groups argue that restrictions and added fees place a burden on consumers and businesses, and don’t take into account the environmental negatives associated with producing alternatives. Jennifer Calfas, WSJ, "Plastic Bans: What You Need to Know," 22 June 2019 An archive of Davidson’s prints and negatives are housed throughout the apartment in floor-to-ceiling shelving. Chris Wiley, The New Yorker, "“I’m an Outsider on the Inside”: An Interview with Bruce Davidson," 13 June 2019 The positives from my Grey Moss experience were matched almost step by step with negatives. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Zero-star review: Grey Moss Inn falls behind the times northwest of San Antonio," 6 June 2019 In fact, the bias toward publishing positive results makes false negatives a significant risk in replications. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Social science has a complicated, infinitely tricky replication crisis," 28 Aug. 2018 The hourlong meeting explored the positives and negatives of the Park District, including park program needs and desires, and next steps in the process. Elizabeth Owens-schiele, chicagotribune.com, "Buffalo Grove Park District hosts public input forum: 'I want to make sure we're offering enough for everyone'," 5 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of negative

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1571, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

1706, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for negative

Adjective

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

Noun

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 negative entry 1

Verb

derivative of negative entry 1

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Statistics for negative

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for negative

The first known use of negative was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for negative

negative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of negative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of negative (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

adjective
neg·​a·​tive | \ ˈne-gə-tiv How to pronounce negative (audio) \

Kids Definition of negative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Other Words from negative

negatively adverb
negativity \ ˌne-​gə-​ˈti-​və-​tē \ noun

negative

noun

Kids Definition of negative (Entry 2 of 2)

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

negative

adjective
neg·​a·​tive | \ ˈneg-ət-iv\

Medical Definition of negative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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
3a : 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
4a : 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

Other Words from negative

negatively adverb

negative

noun

Medical Definition of negative (Entry 2 of 2)

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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