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 negative (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 Mayo Clinic officials say a doctor may recommend a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to confirm a negative antigen test result. Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona reports 603 new COVID-19 cases and 6 new known deaths, continuing relatively low reports," 28 Apr. 2021 As for the cruise lines: — Royal Caribbean Group, including Celebrity Cruises, will require passengers under the age of 18 to provide proof of a negative RT-PCR test result. al, "What you need to know if you want to take a cruise this summer," 27 Apr. 2021 For Coles, every negative test result brings a sense of relief. Lauren Dunn, NBC News, "Can regular at-home testing slow the spread of Covid? One N.C. county is trying to find out.," 26 Apr. 2021 The negative coronavirus test result arrived about a week later. Dallas News, "A $15,000 COVID-19 test? Lawmakers seek to rein in sky-high costs at some freestanding emergency rooms," 23 Apr. 2021 The Excelsior pass is not used for travel, but to access venues that require proof of vaccination or a negative test result, like sports games and concerts. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "A Guide to Vaccine Passport Apps for American Travelers," 23 Apr. 2021 The Canadian government also introduced a mandatory stay in a quarantine hotel until a traveler receives a negative test result. Sandra Macgregor, Forbes, "Canada-U.S. Border Closure Extended Again Until At Least May 21, 2021," 21 Apr. 2021 Iceland began accepting vaccinated tourists on April 6, and French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that Americans who are vaccinated or can show a negative COVID test result may be able to visit France this summer. Lois K. Solomon, sun-sentinel.com, "Did you lose your COVID-19 vaccination card? Here’s how to replace it," 21 Apr. 2021 The site also lists categories of people exempt from that requirement, including travelers who’ve received a negative COVID-19 result on a test administered not more than 72 hours before their arrival in Massachusetts. BostonGlobe.com, "Traffic at Logan Airport spiked last week," 20 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Views on the economy are more than two-to-one negative: 29 percent rate it as excellent/good and 69 percent say only fair/poor. Jack Durschlag, Fox News, "Biden approaches 100 days in office -- what do Americans think?," 26 Apr. 2021 Alber’s appearance at the end of the show, however, with his Charlie Chaplin walk and wave, gave the whole thing an injection of slapstick humour, turning a negative into a positive. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Remembering Alber Elbaz, Visionary Designer, Generous Spirit, and Friend to All," 25 Apr. 2021 But overall happiness occurs when the positive outweighs the negative in a macro sense. Tracy Brower, Forbes, "The Business Case For Happiness: Evidence Happiness Is Good For Organizations, People, Communities," 11 Apr. 2021 The medium allowed Bey to give his subjects a keepsake from these momentary exchanges, a Polaroid print of themselves (the positive); Bey kept the negative for his own prints. Syreeta Mcfadden, The Atlantic, "Polaroid Portraits," 9 Apr. 2021 That’s a good thing for guys such as Lejond Cavazos and Ryan Watts, but a negative for Sevyn Banks and Cam Brown. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Ohio State football’s lack of secondary depth puts spring pressure on Lejond Cavazos and Ryan Watts," 7 Apr. 2021 My own answer would be in the negative, since the events of 2005-2010 are not near in time to the liability event of 2015 and had no part in causing the 2015 event. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, "Temporal Issues In Alter Ego Analysis," 10 Apr. 2021 But turning those bench minutes from a negative into a big plus has been a huge part of this Jazz team’s success. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "The Triple Team: Jazz’s bench unit this season vs. last season is like night and day; Rudy Gobert’s 6 blocks," 22 Feb. 2021 But the fatter deficit means that trade this year will be a net negative for the United States, subtracting about 1 percent from an annual growth rate that the OECD pegs at 6.5 percent. Washington Post, "With stimulus cash and jobs spike, U.S. emerges as main engine for global economic recovery," 4 Apr. 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, "Column: Desert off-road festival to go ahead despite violating state guidelines," 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, "Grading Auburn’s loss to Northwestern in the Citrus Bowl," 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, "Pluto's snow-capped mountains look like they belong on Earth, but they're entirely different," 13 Oct. 2020 Someone who tests negative the day before visiting the White House could be positive upon arrival. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Covid Testing Bait-and-Switch," 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, "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.

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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

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Negative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/negative. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on negative

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