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 That remains far above Mr. Trump’s previously stated desire for zero or negative interest rates. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, "Trump Urges ‘Big’ Rate Cut as Fed Faces Challenges," 16 Sep. 2019 In their zeal to write every negative thing about Trump, (the media) were missing the real story. Anchorage Daily News, "‘This isn’t just a stupid story, it’s a big story’: An oral history of Sharpiegate," 14 Sep. 2019 In their zeal to write every negative thing about Trump, [the media] were missing the real story. Dan Zak, Washington Post, "‘This isn’t just a stupid story, it’s a big story’: An oral history of Sharpiegate," 13 Sep. 2019 Claisom wants to challenge this notion and dispel people’s negative perception of insects—in particular, non-honey producing bees—by creating a children’s storybook. National Geographic, "Meet Our 2018 Grant Winners!," 10 Sep. 2019 Some of the photos capture the challenges of those border crossers, who are often labeled with negative stereotypes. Daily Pilot, "Chapman University hosts exhibits, panels, screenings to examine issues surrounding the border," 6 Sep. 2019 About $16 trillion in global debt now carries a negative interest rate, while U.S. rates remain positive. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "Inverted yield curve not a warning flare for recession, CU Denver professor argues," 24 Aug. 2019 For one, the US suffered negative growth rates, while India is still growing, albeit at slower rates. Rahul Menon, Quartz India, "India’s economic slump is far too deep to be tackled with mere tinkering of interest rates," 7 Aug. 2019 The psychological damage of the market sitting watching blood on the screens every single day led to such a pervasive negative mood. Washington Post, "When a Spy Network Beats an Investing Spreadsheet," 18 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Clemente eventually reached out to Goff’s daughters, who shipped him hundreds of negatives for scanning. Michael Hill, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee man's Woodstock photos are displayed for 1st time, 50 years later," 15 Aug. 2019 The positive is one thing and it has been priced in, versus a multitude of negatives that have not been priced in. NBC News, "Big month for jobs, big headache for Fed Chair Powell," 5 July 2019 Inside were thousands of small wax envelopes, neatly arranged in rows, each containing a number of medium-format photographic negatives. Richard Vokes, Quartz Africa, "A recently discovered trove of photos shows life in Uganda during Idi Amin’s troubled reign," 30 June 2019 Inside were thousands of small wax envelopes, neatly arranged in rows, each containing a number of medium-format photographic negatives. Richard Vokes, The Conversation, "Thousands of recently discovered photographs document life in Uganda during Idi Amin’s reign," 25 June 2019 In practice, this may increase the risk of false negatives — cases where the algorithm should trigger but doesn’t. Jeff Kao And Jack Gillum, ProPublica, "Methodology: How We Tested an Aggression Detection Algorithm," 25 June 2019 Their message: Plastic bans target only waste and don’t take account of environmental negatives associated with raw materials and the production of alternatives. ... Saabira Chaudhuri, WSJ, "In Plastic-Bag Wars, the Industry Fights Back," 20 May 2019 But the outside world lumps him in with the other Patriot negatives, which is understandable. BostonGlobe.com, "Sometimes being a fan can get a bit complicated.," 14 Sep. 2019 Many researchers have suggested that climate change, on the whole, is likely to be a net negative for much of the world’s vegetation, including agricultural crops. Scientific American, "Earth Stopped Getting Greener 20 Years Ago," 15 Aug. 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

3 Nov 2019

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
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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