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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 The state Department of Health Services reported 2,034 new cases Thursday as well as 9,411 negative tests, for a positivity rate of 17.8%. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New coronavirus cases reach all-time high of 2,000 as young people, schools drive surge," 17 Sep. 2020 Each had to undergo a series of three negative COVID-19 tests, at the start, middle and end of that period. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Historic research cruise sailed with first all-women science team," 14 Sep. 2020 The agency has confirmed that the data on negative tests includes re-tests of the same person, so its still unclear how many total inmates have been tested. Grace Toohey, orlandosentinel.com, "Despite highest monthly COVID-19 death toll among prisoners, Florida to resume visitation soon," 11 Sep. 2020 First was quarantine, then registering two negative tests and finally building back into baseball shape. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, "Diamondbacks beat Mariners in pitcher Caleb Smith's debut," 11 Sep. 2020 That number has dipped down to around 16,000 more recently, but that does not currently include some of the universities’ negative tests, Box said. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana to add nearly 100 free sites where you can be tested for the coronavirus," 10 Sep. 2020 Who are some Chiefs players that Texan fans may not know who may have an impact on the game either in a negative or positive way? Stephanie Stradley, Houston Chronicle, "Stephanie Stradley’s Texans-Chiefs Q&A with Pete Sweeney," 8 Sep. 2020 According to tournament director Guy Forget, all players will be tested upon arrival in Paris and will be approved to play if return negative tests upon arrival and again 72 hours later. Jill Martin, CNN, "Ashleigh Barty will not defend her French Open title, announces she will not travel to Europe," 8 Sep. 2020 Other productions have required at least two negative tests, and no COVID-19 symptoms for at least 72 hours. Adam B. Vary, chicagotribune.com, "How Robert Pattinson’s COVID-19 test could affect ‘The Batman’ -- and movie-making," 6 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun House Rule 69 allows delegates who were present and not voting to be counted in the negative after the vote. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "Bill ending qualified immunity for police passes Virginia House on second consideration," 9 Sep. 2020 Health officials advise caution with results, because issues with sample collection could result in a false negative. Sarah Krouse, WSJ, "Covid-19 Tests: Answers on Cost, Accuracy and Turnaround Time," 3 Sep. 2020 American Zoetrope, Coppola's production company, used a 4K scan of the original negative of the film for a frame-by-frame restoration of both the theatrical version of Part III and the new cut. Nick Romano, EW.com, "New Francis Ford Coppola edit of The Godfather: Part III heading to theaters," 3 Sep. 2020 Both agree that Bikelife is more of a positive than a negative. Cole Behrens, The Enquirer, "Motorcycle mess: Near-Downtown neighbors and residents clash over biker noise, nightly disruptions," 24 Aug. 2020 Asking about reducing the number of police without any mention of alternative uses of funds or other strategies for community safety, biases the answers toward the negative. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: 'Minnesota Nice,' Minnesota Poll on support for policing changes, electric vehicles," 21 Aug. 2020 Don Coscarelli is asking for the public's help to locate the negative for his fantasy film. Clark Collis, EW.com, "The Beastmaster director needs your help to find the cult classic's lost negative," 20 Aug. 2020 And next comes another function that marks successful football coaches: making the most of the situation they are dealt, turning the negative into positive. Dom Amore, courant.com, "Dom Amore: Yale’s Tony Reno, Central’s Ryan McCarthy will make most of a fall without football," 17 Aug. 2020 If enough time elapses between ingestion and testing, the test can produce a false negative. Michael Pollick, chicagotribune.com, "The best drug test of 2020," 11 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Risk Creeps Into Municipal Bond Market, Yet Prices Stay High," 4 Sep. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about negative

Time Traveler for negative

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for negative

Last Updated

21 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Negative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/negative. Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on negative

What made you want to look up negative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!