positive

adjective
pos·​i·​tive | \ ˈpä-zə-tiv How to pronounce positive (audio) , ˈpäz-tiv \

Definition of positive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : formally laid down or imposed : prescribed positive laws
b : expressed clearly or peremptorily her answer was a positive no
c : fully assured : confident positive it was her book
2a : of, relating to, or constituting the degree of comparison that is expressed in English by the unmodified and uninflected form of an adjective or adverb and denotes no increase or diminution
b(1) : independent of changing circumstances : unconditioned an insurance policy with positive coverage
(2) : relating to or constituting a motion or device that is definite, unyielding, constant, or certain in its action a positive system of levers
c(1) : incontestable positive proof
(2) : unqualified a positive disgrace
3a : not fictitious : real positive social tensions
b : active and effective in social or economic function rather than merely maintaining peace and order a positive government
4a : indicating, relating to, or characterized by affirmation, addition, inclusion, or presence rather than negation, withholding, or absence took the positive approach and struck a new deal rather than canceling the contract
b : having rendition of light and shade similar in tone to the tones of the original subject a positive photographic image
c : contributing toward or characterized by increase or progression take some positive action positive cash flow
d : directed or moving toward a source of stimulation a positive taxis
e : real and numerically greater than zero +2 is a positive integer
5a(1) : being, relating to, or charged with electricity of which the proton is the elementary unit and which predominates in a glass body after being rubbed with silk
(2) : having more protons than electrons a positive ion
b(1) : having higher electric potential and constituting the part from which the current flows to the external circuit the positive terminal of a discharging storage battery
(2) : being an electron-collecting electrode of an electron tube
6a : marked by or indicating acceptance, approval, or affirmation received a positive response
b : affirming the presence especially of a condition, substance, or organism suspected to be present a positive test for blood also : having a test result indicating the presence especially of a condition, substance, or organism HIV positive
7 of a lens : converging light rays and forming a real inverted image
8a : having a good effect : favorable a positive role model
b : marked by optimism the positive point of view

positive

noun

Definition of positive (Entry 2 of 2)

: something positive: such as
a(1) : the positive degree of comparison in a language
(2) : a positive form of an adjective or adverb
b : something of which an affirmation can be made : reality
c : a positive photograph or a print from a negative
d : a positive result (as of a test) also : a test yielding such a result

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from positive

Adjective

positively \ ˈpä-​zə-​tiv-​lē How to pronounce positively (audio) , for emphasis often  ˌpä-​zə-​ˈtiv-​ \ adverb
positiveness \ ˈpä-​zə-​tiv-​nəs How to pronounce positiveness (audio) , ˈpäz-​tiv-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for positive

Adjective

sure, certain, positive, cocksure mean having no doubt or uncertainty. sure usually stresses the subjective or intuitive feeling of assurance. felt sure that I had forgotten something certain may apply to a basing of a conclusion or conviction on definite grounds or indubitable evidence. police are certain about the cause of the fire positive intensifies sureness or certainty and may imply opinionated conviction or forceful expression of it. I'm positive that's the person I saw cocksure implies presumptuous or careless positiveness. you're always so cocksure about everything

Examples of positive in a Sentence

Adjective The book had a positive influence on me. He has been a positive role model for his brother. Nothing positive came out of that experience. What are some of the positive things about your job? The low unemployment rate is a positive sign for the economy. The company took positive steps to create a safer workplace. You've got to have a positive attitude to do well in life. You should try to be more positive about the whole situation. On the positive side, you will be making more money. To end on a positive note, we are seeing an increase in sales this month. Noun The positives of living in the city include access to public transportation and many interesting restaurants. The test showed a positive.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective By comparison, nearby Orange County, Florida, has had a double-digit positive rate for two weeks, including 11.4% on Sunday. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "NBA says only 2 players tested positive for COVID-19 during Orlando bubble quarantine period," 14 July 2020 However, the Big Apple has had encouraging developments in recent weeks, including Sunday's positive headline that the city reported zero deaths from the coronavirus for the first time since the pandemic began. Fox News, "Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin mocked for calling New York government's COVID response 'competent'," 14 July 2020 The Diamondbacks had another positive COVID-19 test result from a player on the 40-man roster on Saturday, Lovullo said. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, "Ketel Marte has Gold Glove on his mind entering 2020," 13 July 2020 States are included in the advisory if 10 per 100,000 residents or 10 percent of the total population tests positive on a seven-day rolling average. Brendan J. Lyons, Houston Chronicle, "Travelers from high-risk states now face mandatory $2K fine for not filling out forms," 13 July 2020 But by early July, the family received positive news. Natalie Stone, PEOPLE.com, "RHOC’s Simon Barney Shares Side-by-Side Photos of ‘Before, During and After’ Cancer Treatment," 13 July 2020 The rolling, seven-day average positive rate was 6.1%. Laura Hancock, cleveland, "Ohio reporting 1,261 new coronavirus cases: Monday update," 13 July 2020 Sending much love and positive thoughts into the universe for Naya’s family!! Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "Glee cast and other stars react to Naya Rivera's death," 13 July 2020 The 236th is a 76-year-old Clackamas County man who tested positive July 1 and died July 4 at his residence. oregonlive, "Coronavirus in Oregon: 280 new cases, 3 deaths as governor institutes tighter safety measures," 13 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The school reported 56 negative tests, two asymptomatic positives and one symptomatic positive. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "How Alabama’s handling COVID-19 with athletes back as transparency varies by school," 16 June 2020 Even though a net positive of 2.5 million jobs were created in May -- the largest amount on record -- the country is still a far cry from its pre-pandemic employment levels. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "The Fed is finally starting its lending program for small and medium-sized businesses," 15 June 2020 Saturday marked Arizona's fifth consecutive day of high numbers of new coronavirus cases reported, with 1,119 positives reported Saturday, a record 1,579 reported on Friday, 530 on Thursday, 973 on Wednesday and 1,127 new cases reported on Tuesday. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "Arizona's largest health system reaches capacity on ECMO lung machines as COVID-19 cases in the state continue to climb," 6 June 2020 That’s because Oregon reports not only confirmed positive tests but also presumed positives for people who may not have been tested. oregonlive, "Oregon ranks second-to-last in coronavirus testing per capita. But ...," 5 June 2020 Wisconsin went from 5,000 positives to 10,000 in 18 days, then from 10,000 to 20,000 in 27 days — doubling 50% slower despite dramatic increases in testing. Matt Piper, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin's percent positive coronavirus rate continues downward trend as Milwaukee restaurants and state parks prepare to open," 5 June 2020 The majority of the cases involved residents, but Providence officials declined to provide a more specific breakdown between resident and caregiver positives. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska reports 7 new COVID-19 cases; care center involved in weekend spike reports 5 more," 1 June 2020 The Black Belt’s percent positives are among the highest in the state. Kyle Whitmire, al, "Alabama’s Black Belt is in trouble, again," 22 May 2020 First-quarter earnings from the electric auto maker released Wednesday afternoon did contain clear positives. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Tesla: Too Fast, Too Furious," 30 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'positive.' 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 positive

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for positive

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin positivus, from positus, past participle of ponere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about positive

Time Traveler for positive

Time Traveler

The first known use of positive was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for positive

Last Updated

29 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Positive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/positive. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for positive

positive

adjective
How to pronounce positive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of positive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: good or useful
: thinking about the good qualities of someone or something : thinking that a good result will happen : hopeful or optimistic
: completely certain or sure that something is correct or true

positive

noun

English Language Learners Definition of positive (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is good or useful
: the result from a test that shows that a particular germ, condition, or substance is present
: a photograph that shows light and dark areas or colors as they look in real life

positive

adjective
pos·​i·​tive | \ ˈpä-zə-tiv How to pronounce positive (audio) \

Kids Definition of positive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fully confident : certain I'm positive that I will win.
2 : having a real or beneficial effect or result They took positive action. I had a positive experience.
3 : beyond doubt : unquestionable positive proof
4 : showing acceptance or approval a positive response
5 : thinking of good qualities or possibilities : optimistic a positive attitude
6 : being greater than zero and often shown by a plus sign 2 or +2 is a positive number.
7 : being or relating to electricity of a kind that is produced in a glass rod rubbed with silk a positive charge
8 : having more protons than electrons a positive particle
9 : being the part from which the electric current flows to the external circuit the positive pole of a storage battery
10 : showing the presence of what is looked for or suspected to be present The test for strep throat was positive.
11 : relating to or having the form of an adjective or adverb that shows no degree of comparison

Other Words from positive

positively adverb

positive

noun

Kids Definition of positive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a good or useful feature or quality There are many positives of living in the country.
2 : the degree or a form of an adjective or adverb that shows no comparison

positive

adjective
pos·​i·​tive | \ ˈpäz-ət-iv, ˈpäz-tiv How to pronounce positive (audio) \

Medical Definition of positive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : directed or moving toward a source of stimulation a positive taxis
2 : having rendition of light and shade similar in tone to the tones of the original a positive photographic image
3a(1) : being, relating to, or charged with electricity of which the proton is the elementary unit and which predominates in a glass body after being rubbed with silk
(2) : having more protons than electrons a positive ion
b(1) : having higher electrical potential and constituting the part from which the current flows to the external circuit the positive terminal of a discharging storage battery
(2) : being an electron-collecting electrode of an electron tube
4a : marked by or indicating acceptance, approval, or affirmation
b : affirming the presence of that sought or suspected to be present a positive test for blood
5 of a lens : converging light rays and forming a real inverted image

Other Words from positive

positively \ -​lē, for emphasis often ˌpäz-​ə-​ˈtiv-​ \ adverb
positiveness \ ˈpäz-​ət-​iv-​nəs, ˈpäz-​tiv-​ How to pronounce positiveness (audio) \ noun

positive

noun

Medical Definition of positive (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a positive photograph or a print from a negative
2 : a positive result (as of a test) also : a test yielding such a result

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on positive

What made you want to look up positive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!