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 Pence, who is tested for the coronavirus daily, was negative as of Monday morning. NBC News, "Trump, Pence to stay apart following positive coronavirus staffer tests," 12 May 2020 Fauci tested negative for the virus on Friday, May 8. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "COVID-19 spread in White House sends top US health officials into quarantine [Updated]," 11 May 2020 An administration official said Mr. Pence was voluntarily keeping his distance from other people and has repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19 since his exposure. Frank Jordans And Nomaan Merchant, The Christian Science Monitor, "Trump officials forecast economic rebound as lockdowns lift," 10 May 2020 Then the family was told Sagepoint had tested her and the results were negative. Washington Post, "Report details deficiencies at Maryland nursing home with highest covid-19 death toll," 9 May 2020 In Thailand, the restart of some domestic flights last week has meant vacant middle seats, says Catherine Heald of Remote Lands, no in-flight food or beverage service, and proof of a negative coronavirus test within the last three days to board. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "These Countries Are Opening Back Up—And Cautiously Preparing for Domestic Travel," 6 May 2020 Conventional screening over the DETECT-A study’s first year of follow-up found breast, lung, and colon cancers in 24 women whose CancerSEEK test was negative. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "DNA blood test spots cancers in seemingly cancer-free women, but also produces false alarms," 28 Apr. 2020 Weaver can be a polarizing figure in the Sanders orbit and the reaction from some former Sanders aides and supporters was negative. Shane Goldmacher, BostonGlobe.com, "Former aides to Bernie Sanders form a super PAC to support Joe Biden," 28 Apr. 2020 For example, the CMU researchers were initially looking at flu tests that were negative, believing that elimination mechanism was a strong signal that an ill person’s symptoms were related to Covid; now the team is factoring in all Quidel flu tests. Lauren Goode, Wired, "Facebook and Google Survey Data May Help Map Covid-19's Spread," 24 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But if two or more were negatives, the event did not go well for the candidate. cleveland, "Nothing beats being on the ground for Iowa caucus campaigning," 3 Feb. 2020 But just how much better did HP make the Spectre x360 13, and are there any hidden negatives about the newest iteration? Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "HP Spectre x360 13 review: A high-end two-in-one that’s hard to beat," 13 Jan. 2020 But, as always with this team this time of year, there are enough nagging negatives to stop short of a guarantee. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Excitement of another Dodgers’ postseason tempered by fear of another failure," 2 Oct. 2019 And perhaps this system — which is remarkably similar to the ones Gruden ran before his decade-long broadcasting sabbatical — is the one that can best highlight the Raiders’ positives and negate their negatives. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: Jon Gruden’s not adjusting, and that’s a big issue for the Raiders," 19 Sep. 2019 Each ultimately went from being praised and nearly universally admired to being starkly evaluated and audited for weaknesses; from a coverage perspective, the final two seasons of Tebow's college career were largely spent focusing on his negatives. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Now the face of college football, Clemson's Trevor Lawrence getting used to spotlight," 26 Aug. 2019 These are the only negatives on my credit report that are unresolved. Liz Weston | Nerdwallet.com, oregonlive.com, "Liz Weston: Tips for adding positive credit to help offset negative information," 15 June 2019 In my view, these benefits outweigh many of the potential negatives of bird feeding. Popular Science, "Expert-approved ways to feed all your favorite birds," 8 Mar. 2020 But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, researchers say, and fixating on the negatives overlooks the very opportunities that can help teens learn and grow. Steven Johnson, Washington Post, "What teenage brains can teach us about thinking creatively," 4 Mar. 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.

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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

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Negative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/negative. Accessed 29 May. 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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Comments on negative

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