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 negative (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 Sentiment toward House Bill 6 quickly turned negative. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, 22 July 2021 The company had also drawn negative attention after a 4-year-old was trapped beneath a ThyssenKrupp Access residential elevator in November 2019. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 22 July 2021 These protocols seem to have worked, because Simone Biles and the rest of the team – Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Jade Carey and McKayla Skinner – have continued to test negative. USA TODAY, 22 July 2021 Last summer, protestors swept across America in response to the death of both Taylor and George Floyd and while a major spotlight was placed on the protests, often they were portrayed in a negative light. Gabrielle Bunton, The Courier-Journal, 22 July 2021 In order to get France's pandemic pass, visitors and residents must show that they are either fully vaccinated, recently tested negative, or recovered from COVID-19. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 22 July 2021 The response from the public has been largely negative. BostonGlobe.com, 22 July 2021 Additionally, fellow alternate Leanne Wong, who has tested negative for COVID-19, remains in quarantine. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, 22 July 2021 Research has also found links between evictions and diminished physical and mental health outcomes for parents and children, reduced earnings and job instability for parents, and negative effects on children's education attainment. CNN, 22 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This latest evidence of humanity's bias towards the negative comes at a time when Americans are historically polarized. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, 15 July 2021 Covid tests return either a positive or a negative for the virus overall. Lara Farrar, Arkansas Online, 4 July 2021 To one contingent, Biogen’s data — culled from two clinical trials, one positive, the other negative — were too messy to support the notion that Aduhelm delayed the progression of Alzheimer’s. Matthew Herper, STAT, 22 June 2021 Sometimes a negative can be turned into a positive! Bernard May, Forbes, 1 June 2021 With those additions and the return of sophomore guard Dontaie Allen, Mintz was no longer guaranteed a starting spot next season, but the suddenly crowded roster was far from a negative for Mintz’s decision. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, 9 July 2021 The conversation changed from the negative to the blessing Smith had just received. Mark Craig, Star Tribune, 14 Aug. 2020 The negative is that customers no longer need to come into a store to shop for incidentals or make impulse purchases. Walter Loeb, Forbes, 8 Apr. 2021 The only slight negative is a breeze from the south at 10 to 15 mph with higher gusts at times. Washington Post, 30 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Positive antibody test results, which are by no means an absolute guarantee of immunity, will be accepted to enter, as will negative COVID-19 tests taken up to seven days prior to arrival. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, 17 Jan. 2021 Auburn’s coverage units held Northwestern to negative two return yards, and its return units produced 25 yards on two returns. Giana Han, al, 2 Jan. 2021 This makes Pluto a cold place covered with ice, and its surface is between negative 378 to negative 396 degrees Fahrenheit. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 13 Oct. 2020 Someone who tests negative the day before visiting the White House could be positive upon arrival. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 5 Oct. 2020 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, 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

Dictionary Entries Near negative

negativate

negative

negative acceleration

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for negative

Last Updated

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Negative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/negative. Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on negative

Nglish: Translation of negative for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of negative for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about negative

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

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!