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

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

Those dates make points against the Czech champions all the more valuable—or perhaps points dropped against them will have that much more of a negative impact. Si Wire, SI.com, "Inter Milan vs. Slavia Prague Live Stream: Watch UEFA Champions League Online, TV," 17 Sep. 2019 Would the Fed — whose independence from political interference is being challenged by Mr. Trump — contemplate negative rates? CBS News, "Federal Reserve expected to cut interest rates on Wednesday," 17 Sep. 2019 Also on Friday, Apple rebutted a piece from Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall, who said free trials of the company’s Apple+ service would have a negative impact on earnings. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Can a Mattress Startup Be a Tech Company, Too?—Data Sheet," 16 Sep. 2019 But with more pushback from Germany on negative rates and uncertainty policy will work as intended, the ECB could be straining the support for its independence. Allison Schrager, Quartz, "The European Central Bank cut rates again, but will it matter?," 12 Sep. 2019 As a result of these issues, the negative economic impact for SGE became untenable. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "John Reese's Synergy Global Entertainment 'Hit By Perfect Storm,' Files for Bankruptcy," 9 Sep. 2019 But the negative comments are increasingly likely to blast the amount of time devoted to slavery, decrying ‘‘political correctness’’ and the bashing of a giant of American history. Hannah Knowles, BostonGlobe.com, "Plantations talk more about slavery, not pleasing some," 8 Sep. 2019 Unfortunately, Justin’s post was met with an array of negative comments from his followers. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Justin Bieber Responds to Instagram User Who Criticized His Romantic Tributes to Hailey Bieber," 7 Sep. 2019 Even though only a few offenses had a negative impact on housing success, ex-offenders struggle to find housing. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "2019 Affordable Housing Forum highlights new study on ex-offenders' access to stable housing," 5 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With memories of the artworks as inspiration, a recent trip to The Chronicle’s archive turned up dozens of photo negatives and prints of the sculptures — many previously unpublished in The Chronicle. Bill Van Niekerken, SFChronicle.com, "Remembering Emeryville’s mudflat art — and why the mud won out," 28 Aug. 2019 Only last year, about 17 years after her death, were some 30,000 of her negatives and undeveloped film found in the family attic by her daughter, Asya Ivashintsova-Melkumyan. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Found: 30,000 Photographs by the ‘Russian Vivian Maier’," 20 Mar. 2018 The small bright spots the Giants enjoyed on Thursday were not nearly enough to outweigh all the negatives that came from the team’s fourth loss in five games. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants on verge of worst home season in Oracle Park history, lose series to Pirates," 12 Sep. 2019 The negatives are enough to push Malkin down draft boards, but another 30-goal, 80-point season isn’t out of the realm of possibility, yet. Dan Falkenheim, SI.com, "NHL Fantasy Bounce-Back Candidates for 2019–20," 15 Aug. 2019 The foundations plan to donate the more than 4 million prints and negatives to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Getty Research Institute. Russell Contreras, chicagotribune.com, "Sale of Ebony photo archives is bittersweet: Many relieved images will be preserved, but ‘it’s sad because we lost control forever’," 26 July 2019 The foundations plan to donate the more than 4 million prints and negatives to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Getty Research Institute. Washington Post, "Ebony and Jet photo archive sale sparks relief, anxiety," 26 July 2019 More than four million prints and negatives from Ebony and Jet magazines were bought this week for $30 million. CBS News, "Rare look inside the Ebony and Jet magazine photo archive that just sold for $30M," 26 July 2019 The foundations plan to donate the more than 4 million prints and negatives — considered one of the most significant collections of photographs cataloging African American life. SFChronicle.com, "Apple, Intel in $1 billion deal; Comcast faces more cord cutting," 25 July 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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Statistics for negative

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

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 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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