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

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

The ratio of negative to positive earnings announcements is 1.4, which compares with an average of 2.8 since 1995. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Don’t Worry About the Earnings Slowdown Yet," 9 July 2018 In this study, the team wanted to flag Gram-negative bacteria, which have a tougher cell wall and include difficult-to-treat infections like E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause pneumonia. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "New “Immunobiotic” Could Treat Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs," 6 July 2018 And nearly a quarter of teen respondents to the Pew survey (24 percent) described the effect of social media on their lives as mostly negative. Daniel Arkin /, NBC News, "'Eighth Grade' goes inside the mind of an iPhone-addled teen girl," 14 July 2018 Attractive stimuli cause faster pulsations, while negative stimuli cause the pulsations to slow. Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "Slime Molds Remember—But Do They Learn?," 14 July 2018 The push to sell pepperoni and beer may give Pizza Hut a leg up on digital leader Domino's Pizza as well as Papa John's, which is facing negative publicity over its founder and former chairman's recent racist comments. Leslie Patton, chicagotribune.com, "Pizza Hut expands beer delivery," 13 July 2018 Plenty of research measures the health impact of stress and negative feelings, says Erica Sloan, a biologist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Could Brain Stimulation Slow Cancer?," 13 July 2018 There are those people on Twitter who are super negative and have no reason to be. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "Weekend Read: Meet the 'Adopted Son' of NBA Summer League, Astroball's Release and More," 13 July 2018 On Blurryface, the title referenced a character that represented Tyler’s negative alter ego. Paige Williams, Billboard, "Twenty One Pilots' 'Trench': Decoding the Clues They've Left About Their New Album," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The museum’s archives include more than twenty collections with artifacts representing PE history in the form of photographs and negatives, 8mm and 16mm films, maps and blueprints, original documents, tools and other artifacts dating from the 1870s. Nicole Miller-coleman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Father's Day weekend is Pacific Electric Weekend at the Orange Empire Railway Museum," 16 June 2018 Here's a look at some other negatives from the first half of the season: The end of IndyCar in Phoenix? Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar midseason review, part II: What's gone wrong," 15 June 2018 Call to register for a one-on-one appointment to scan your photos, 35mm slides, negatives, postcards or letters. Courant Community, "Community News For The Valley Edition," 5 June 2018 Many studies suggest robotic surgery has fewer complications and shorter hospital stays, but others show lower success rates in some types of surgery and other negatives, including higher costs. Laura Landro, WSJ, "The Operating Room of the Future," 28 May 2018 The negatives, from which the preservation copies were made, were slightly shrunken and had some color fading. New York Times, "Christopher Nolan’s Version of Vinyl: Unrestoring ‘2001’," 11 May 2018 Nor have scholars found a cache of negatives and prints—as happened with Thomas Eakins —revealing avid experimentation in private. Richard B. Woodward, WSJ, "‘Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting’ Review: An Unclear Creative Influence," 4 July 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

3 Nov 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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Comments on negative

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