negative

adjective
neg·​a·​tive | \ˈne-gə-tiv \

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

b : drawback, liability

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 \ 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

In most cases, the number of positive charges is balanced by negative charges, so the plasma is neutral. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Technical tour-de-force traps positrons," 11 Dec. 2018 The training, which included three days of discussions and lectures on topics like cultural sensitivity and use of force, was poorly received by some officers, who gave the program negative ratings in early 2015. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Video of police ripping a black child from his mom has sparked debate over NYPD practices," 11 Dec. 2018 Society’s negative perception of periods—and reproductive health in general—has stymied collective social progress in myriad ways. Jordana Kier And Alex Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Tampon Tax Is Just Another Example of Women's Inequality," 7 Dec. 2018 Connect one black-end clamp to the negative (-) post of the good battery. Jasmin Radoncic, Good Housekeeping, "How to Use Jumper Cables and Jump Start a Car the Right Way," 5 Dec. 2018 Tourmaline crystal is believed to absorb negative energy and emit positive energy. Nicole Dellert, Allure, "I Tried a Sound Bath — Here's What This Meditative Practice Is Really Like," 24 Oct. 2018 Amethyst, for example, is said to have calming and protective properties that act like a sponge for negative energy. Alyssa Nassner, Curbed, "Cleansing 101: Keeping your home’s energy in check," 17 Oct. 2018 Such a move could also insulate Uber from negative headlines like after one of its vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona earlier this year. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Uber Proposals Value Company at $120 Billion in a Possible IPO," 16 Oct. 2018 But to catch you up quickly: the iOS bagel emoji — like Android’s goofy cheeseburger one that generated negative headlines last year — was widely decried for its unappetizing look and its lack of cream cheese. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Apple fixes its new bagel emoji with cream cheese and a doughier consistency," 15 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There’s something that drives positives and negatives. Courtney Lund O’neil, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Serial Killer, a Receipt, and My Mom: Haunted by the Murder of 33 Boys," 31 Oct. 2018 Some concerns Presentations made at a series of meetings in late September and early October highlight some of the positives and negatives with the new model. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NOAA is about to make some big changes to its global weather model," 24 Oct. 2018 It’s harder to predict the potential negatives of a vertical merger, noted Leemore S. Dafny, a professor at Harvard Business School. Priyanka Dayal Mccluskey, BostonGlobe.com, "A Partners-Harvard Pilgrim merger isn’t a done deal. Regulators could have their say," 8 May 2018 The hard work of getting memories back after a blaze Nobody was willing to let history fade away after a blaze last month left the Aberdeen Museum of History’s prints, negatives, film and VHS tapes soaked and covered in soot. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "Aberdeen museum recovers history from a fire, and Seattle is opening more tiny-house villages | Tuesday Morning Brief, July 17," 17 July 2018 Of more than 400 photos shown in the book, including runway images and design sketches, many of the photos were printed as photo negatives, like an X-Ray, to reflect Viktor&Rolf’s focus on reinvention. Aubri Juhasz, The Cut, "The Designers Known for Clothes That Look Like Art," 28 June 2018 But as Putnam prepares to leave the commissioner's job after the November elections, most of the candidates from both parties also point to produce dumping from Mexico as one of the biggest negatives in Florida from the pact. Jim Turner, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Agriculture commissioner candidates say NAFTA hurts Florida farmers," 30 May 2018 By important demographic measures, Southeast D.C. is a photographic negative of the prosperity that has transformed much of the District. Peter Jamison, Washington Post, "Are D.C.’s poorest neighborhoods falling off the electoral map?," 29 June 2018 Jealous’s candidacy is a photo-negative of Trump’s: Economic populism fused with appeals to racial justice and equality. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Tuesday’s primaries were a good night for the populist left.," 27 June 2018

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

15 Dec 2018

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 \

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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