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

Other Words from negative

Adjective

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for negative

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective For its part, the company stands to gain reputationally by volunteering to help determine how its products may be contributing to negative mental health outcomes. Mario Aguilar, STAT, 24 May 2022 On the southern most tip of the continent, Grootbos, the first lodge in South Africa to receive carbon-negative status, sits nestled between mountains, forest, and sea. Christine Chitnis, ELLE, 24 May 2022 This sets the stage for a negative, self-perpetuating cycle that both limits the organization’s ability to keep customers and pursue new opportunities. Mike Capone, Forbes, 23 May 2022 Such negative perceptions most directly affect working parents or other families who don’t have the time or means to drive their kids to school, neighborhood parents point out. Connor Sanders, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 May 2022 The researchers found that 34 of 35 individuals who were EBV-negative at the beginning and developed MS during the study had contracted EBV about 5 to ten years before the onset of MS. USA Today, 23 May 2022 Allure spoke with six founders of these communities about why the negative views of curly hair persist in the Southeast Asian community and the importance of building their platforms. Jada Jackson, Allure, 23 May 2022 Another study in 2018 showed that hugs after a conflict or negative event helped people feel better. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 23 May 2022 Before returning, the 26-year-old must produce consecutive negative tests. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 23 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Celebrate and become the positive, and, where needed, humbly do everything possible not to pass on the negative. The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Apr. 2022 Each semester, my freshman classes debated whether the gaokao should be significantly changed, and the majority answered in the negative. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 Interest in gallium lagged in the past, partly because of the unfair association with toxic mercury, and partly because its tendency to form an oxide layer was seen as a negative. Kurt Kleiner, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 May 2022 Career mobility is a hallmark of this era and employers do not automatically see it as a negative. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2022 The second-year guard has quickly established himself as a true clutch player, so having the ball in his hands with the clock winding down is not at all a negative for Minnesota. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 29 Apr. 2022 Sure, a No. 1 debut is always preferable, but a No. 2 debut isn’t a negative for an unquestioned superstar coming off a Super Bowl halftime show and the biggest Hot 100 hit of all time. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 19 Jan. 2022 Nonetheless, there is no shortage of research demonstrating that rising rates are often a negative for the stock market. Simon Moore, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 And writing at The American Mind, Claremont Institute fellow Nate Hochman answered in the negative. Bonnie Kristian, The Week, 28 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But with sales growth expected to go from triple digits in 2021 to negative this year, shares have tanked to a record low recently. Yueqi Yang, Time, 20 Apr. 2022 In response, Moody’s Investors Service recently lowered its outlook for the sector to negative. Nick Sargen, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 Eversource Energy executives are on the defensive after two ratings agencies cut the credit outlook to negative for Connecticut Light & Power, citing its run-ins with state regulators over the utility’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias last year. Stephen Singer, courant.com, 2 Aug. 2021 Positive antibody test results, which are by no means an absolute guarantee of immunity, will be accepted to enter, as will negative COVID-19 tests taken up to seven days prior to arrival. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, 17 Jan. 2021 Auburn’s coverage units held Northwestern to negative two return yards, and its return units produced 25 yards on two returns. Giana Han, al, 2 Jan. 2021 This makes Pluto a cold place covered with ice, and its surface is between negative 378 to negative 396 degrees Fahrenheit. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 13 Oct. 2020 Someone who tests negative the day before visiting the White House could be positive upon arrival. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 5 Oct. 2020 Moody’s Investors Service has lowered its outlook to negative on all municipal bond sectors except for housing-finance agencies and water, sewer and public power. Heather Gillers, WSJ, 4 Sep. 2020 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for negative

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near negative

negativate

negative

negative acceleration

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Statistics for negative

Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Negative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/negative. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for negative

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

More from Merriam-Webster on negative

Nglish: Translation of negative for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of negative for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about negative

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