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

People may be inclined to cast former partners in a negative light, particularly vis-a-vis their current partners, muddying up the data. Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post, "Scientists interviewed a bunch of people’s exes to confirm that, yes, you probably do have a ‘type’," 13 June 2019 Youssef is using his time in the spotlight to counteract the negative stereotypes propagated even beyond Hollywood’s reach. Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "Watch Ramy Youssef discuss 'Uncle Donald Trump' in first comedy special Feelings," 12 June 2019 For every one positive article about capitalism, there are 11 negative ones. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Marc Benioff's CEO Activism: CEO Daily," 12 June 2019 In 1865, the National Dress Reform Association actually disbanded amid concerns that negative attention on dress reform was holding back other causes its members held dear. Kimberly Chrisman-campbell, The Atlantic, "When American Suffragists Tried to ‘Wear the Pants’," 12 June 2019 This brought an enormous amount of negative, unwanted attention and stress into my life, and more critically, into my pregnancy. Aurelie Corinthios, PEOPLE.com, "Khloé Kardashian Would 'Never Date' a Guy with a Girlfriend, Source Says: 'It's Just Ridiculous'," 12 June 2019 All nine said that last-minute actions by their predecessors had negative impacts on their offices and, by extension, the public. Connor Sheets | Csheets@al.com, al.com, "After losing reelection, these Alabama sheriffs took it out on their successors - and the public," 12 June 2019 The state’s Housing Accountability Act prohibits cities from rejecting a development that meets these requirements without having specific evidence that the development will produce a negative impact to health and safety. John Gastaldo, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chula Vista approves 170-unit development by Bonita Road," 11 June 2019 Marine heat waves are luring tropical species as far up the Pacific coast as Oregon and have less negative effects on Shark Bay dolphins who use sponges to hunt than on those who do not. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The hourlong meeting explored the positives and negatives of the Park District, including park program needs and desires, and next steps in the process. Elizabeth Owens-schiele, chicagotribune.com, "Buffalo Grove Park District hosts public input forum: 'I want to make sure we're offering enough for everyone'," 5 June 2019 Many of us also own precious prints, photo albums, slides and negatives, some of which can be decades old. Terry Sullivan, New York Times, "A Beginner’s Guide to Backing Up Photos," 11 Jan. 2018 But the Tour felt like the positives outweighed any potential negatives associated with the move. Edgar Thompson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "PGA sets schedule, officially reinstates true Florida Swing," 10 July 2018 But nonetheless she was never motivated to turn negatives into positives. Shawn Musgrave, BostonGlobe.com, "SJC considers tossing out 11,000 more drug cases," 8 May 2018 False negatives mean that some people with a-fib won't be detected by the watch. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "What is atrial fibrillation, and why is your watch telling you about it?," 26 Sep. 2018 Any of the above are certainly possible, and 2018 has produced far more positives than negatives. Jeff Shain, New York Times, "U.S. Open: Players to Watch," 12 June 2018 Aarian breaks down Uber’s decision-making, and links it to one of this technology’s trickiest problems: finding the balance between false positives and false negatives. Alex Davies, WIRED, "This Week in the Future of Cars: Money Money Money Moneyyy!," 3 June 2018 Results usually take weeks and may yield false positives and false negatives. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "Is this stuff cocaine? These college kids can tell you real fast," 8 Feb. 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

16 Jun 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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