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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But, importantly, there were no negative consequences to using the vaccine, a fact that would later give comfort to people who were struggling with whether to deploy rVSV-ZEBOV in a much larger emergency. Helen Branswell, STAT, "‘Against all odds’: The inside story of how scientists across three continents produced an Ebola vaccine," 7 Jan. 2020 And lean into the positive and away from the negative to direct yourself and your team toward success and small wins. Liz Bentley, Marie Claire, "How Do I Fight Burnout and Get Reenergized for Work?," 7 Jan. 2020 His hiring in New England was a virtual car crash of negative media. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "NFL experts (including former Packers receiver James Jones) analyze Mike McCarthy's hire by the Dallas Cowboys," 7 Jan. 2020 But Hailey is turning a negative into a positive with this post. Seventeen, "Hailey Baldwin Says She Has Been ‘Torn Apart’ By Hate Comments," 6 Jan. 2020 While experts have recently gone back and forth over the health benefits of eating meat, there is no doubt that plant-rich diets have less negative impact on the earth’s resources. Bon Appétit, "10 Ways the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen Will Be More Sustainable in 2020," 6 Jan. 2020 Then there's the negative market reaction to the addition of a female director. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "#MeToo for the boardroom: California gender diversity law could lead to more women quotas nationally," 31 Dec. 2019 However, in the days that followed there was an intense negative reaction to that development. oregonlive, "Will new Boeing CEO bring the change company needs?," 24 Dec. 2019 Of all the clubs CNN monitored, many had a sizable proportion of negative reactions but both Aston Villa and Burnley had the most. Dominic Rech, CNN, "Hundreds of thousands across social media react angrily to Premier League LGBT campaign," 19 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There were plenty of negatives such as lapses in discipline, exemplified by the brawl between the Browns and Steelers that started with Myles Garrett striking Mason Rudolph with the quarterback’s own helmet. cleveland, "Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals could be Freddie Kitchens’ swan song: Crowquill," 29 Dec. 2019 For about a week each month, a significant chunk of my time at the Chronicle is spent combing through envelopes of photo negatives taken by staff photographers. J.r. Gonzales, Houston Chronicle, "Before we ring in 2020, let's take a final look at 1989 through Chronicle photos," 26 Dec. 2019 Even so, the result is a net negative for fans of the oil sands. Liam Denning | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Canada Votes for Climate Action. And Oil.," 22 Oct. 2019 The former Celtic was a net negative for Los Angeles last season, pouting his way through the end of the year. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Finding New Teams for the Top Remaining Non-Kawhi Free Agents," 2 July 2019 And then the negatives, obviously maybe that would push your timetable back a little bit further. Matt Zenitz | Mzenitz@al.com, al, "Nick Saban on Alabama’s new QB: ‘I just absolutely love the guy’," 19 Dec. 2019 There are negatives associated with traditional schools — violence and drugs, for instance — that may lead parents to choose homeschooling as a way to control the influences on their children. Sarah Schutte, National Review, "How Technology Is Changing Homeschooling," 7 Nov. 2019 The Chronicle recently rediscovered a binder full of Maggiora’s photo negatives, with images including the landing on Alcatraz, a return to the island after a fire in 1970 and the final moments of the occupation in 1971. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: From the Judgment of Paris to the Smithsonian," 20 Nov. 2019 That means their comment carries less weight and can even be voted down into the negatives, which hides the comment altogether. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "How Reddit Birthed a Community of Digital Vigilantes," 1 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for negative

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for negative

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Negative.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/negative. Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for negative

negative

adjective
How to pronounce negative (audio)

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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