• (RP) IPA: /ˈnɛɡətɪv/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈnɛɡətɪv/, /-ɾɪv/
  • (Canada) IPA: /ˈnɛ(e)ɡəˌɾɪv/


  1. Not positive nor neutral.
  2. (physics) Of electrical charge of an electron and related particles [from the 18th c.]
  3. (mathematics) Of a number: less than zero
    Antonyms: nonnegative
  4. (linguistics, logic) Denying a proposition.
    Antonyms: affirmative
  5. damaging#Adjective|Damaging; undesirable; unfavourable.
    The high exchange rate will have a negative effect on our profits.
    Customers didn’t like it: feedback was mostly negative.
  6. Often used pejoratively: pessimistic; not tending to see the bright side of things.
    I don’t like to hang around him very much because he can be so negative about his petty problems.
  7. Of or relating to a photographic image in which the colour#Noun|colours of the original, and the relations of left and right, are reversed.
  8. (chemistry) Metalloidal, nonmetallic; contrasted with positive or basic.
    The nitro group is negative.
  9. (New Age jargon, pejorative) Often preceded by emotion, energy, feeling, or thought: to be avoided, bad, difficult, disagreeable, painful, potentially damaging#Adjective|damaging, unpleasant, unwanted.
    • 2009, Christopher Johns, Becoming a Reflective Practitioner, John Wiley & Sons, page 15 ↗
      Negative feelings can be worked through and their energy converted into positive energy... In crisis, normal patterns of self-organization fail, resulting in anxiety (negative energy).
    • 2011, Joe Vitale, The Key: the missing secret for attracting anything you want, Body, Mind & Spirit,
      The threat of negative feelings may seem very real, but they are nothing more than mirages... Allow the unwanted feelings to evaporate and dissolve as the mirages that they are.
    • 2011, Anne Jones, Healing Negative Energies, Hachette, page 118 ↗
      If you have been badly affected by negative energy a salt bath is wonderful for clearing and cleansing yourself... Salt attracts negative energy and will draw it away from you.
  10. Characterized by the presence of feature#Noun|features which do not support#Verb|support a hypothesis.
  11. (slang) HIV negative
    • quoted in 2013, William I. Johnston, HIV-Negative: How the Uninfected Are Affected by AIDS (page 145)
      We certainly told him at that time that I was negative. We talked about transmission. We told him we don't do anything that would cause me to become positive.
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Noun

negative (plural negatives)

  1. Refusal or withholding#Noun|withholding of assent#Noun|assents; prohibition, veto [from 15th c.]
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Six Volumes, volume (please specify ), London: Printed by A[ndrew] Millar, […], OCLC 928184292 ↗:
      “Upon my word, I can’t eat a morsel,” answered the lady […] There is indeed in perfect beauty a power which none almost can withstand; for my landlady, though she was not pleased at the negative given to the supper, declared she had never seen so lovely a creature.
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 2, ch. XV, Practical — Devotional
      Geoffrey Riddell Bishop of Ely […] made a request of him for timber from his woods towards certain edifices going on at Glemsford. The Abbot, a great builder himself, disliked the request; could not however give it a negative.
  2. (law) A right#Noun|right of veto.
    • 1787, Luther Martin, cited in The Constitutional Convention Of 1787: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia Of America's Founding (2005), Volume 1, page 391 ↗
      And as to the Constitutionality of laws, that point will come before the Judges in their proper official character. In this character they have a negative on the laws.
    • 1788, Alexander Hamilton, Federalist no. 68
      The qualified negative of the President differs widely from this absolute negative of the British sovereign; […]
    • 1983, INS v. Chadha, Opinion of the Court
      In the convention there does not seem to have been much diversity of opinion on the subject of the propriety of giving to the president a negative on the laws.
  3. (photography) An image#Noun|image in which dark#Adjective|dark areas represent light#Adjective|light ones, and the converse. [from 19th c.]
  4. (grammar) A word#Noun|word that indicates negation.
  5. (mathematics) A negative quantity.
  6. (weightlifting): A rep performed with weight in which the muscle begins at maximum contraction and is slowly extended; a movement performed using only the eccentric phase#Noun|phase of muscle#Noun|muscle movement.
  7. The negative plate#Noun|plate of a voltaic or electrolytic cell.
Translations Translations
  • Italian: negativa
  • Russian: отрица́ние
Translations Verb

negative (negatives, present participle negativing; past and past participle negatived)

  1. (transitive) To refuse#Verb|refuse; to veto#Verb|veto.
    • 1887, L. T. Meade, The Palace Beautiful: A Story for Girls, Chapter XVIII,
      Poppy earnestly begged to be allowed to go with Jasmine on the roof, but this the good lady negatived with horror.
    • 1924, Herman Melville, Billy Budd, London: Constable & Co., Chapter 12,
      And being of warm blood he had not the phlegm tacitly to negative any proposition by unresponsive inaction.
  2. (transitive) To contradict.
    • 1892, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Chapter XXXIII,
      "A comely maid, that," said the other.
      "True, comely enough. But unless I make a great mistake—" And he negatived the remainder of the definition forthwith.
  3. (transitive) To disprove.
    • 1882, J. H. Riddell, "Old Mrs Jones" in The Collected Ghost Stories of Mrs. J. H. Riddell, Dover, 1977, page 192,
      At one time an idea got abroad that the whole tale of her fortune had been a myth; […] but the boastings of various servants who declared they had seen her with “rolls on rolls” of banknotes […] negatived the truth of this statement.
  4. (transitive) To make ineffective; to neutralize.
    • 1918 May 9, Lytton Strachey, “[Florence Nightingale.] Chapter III”, in Eminent Victorians: Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Dr. Arnold, General Gordon (Library of English Literature; LEL 11347), London: Chatto & Windus, OCLC 920474333 ↗, page 162 ↗:
      "The War Office," said Miss Nightingale, "is a very slow office, an enormously expensive office, and one in which the Minister's intentions can be entirely negatived by all his sub-departments, and those of each of the sub-departments by every other."
    • 1959, Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, translated by G. A. Williamson, Penguin, 1970, Chapter 5, page 98,
      Yet he made his largesse daily more lavish, as he saw the king negativing his efforts by taking care of the orphans and showing his remorse for the murder of his sons by his tenderness towards their little ones.
  1. (law, signalling) An elaborate#Adjective|elaborate synonym for no.

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