1. expressing or containing negation or denial: a negative response to the question.
  2. refusing consent, as to a proposal: a negative reply to my request.
  3. expressing refusal to do something: He maintained a negative attitude about cooperating.
  4. prohibitory, as a command or order.
  5. characterized by the absence of distinguishing or marked qualities or features; lacking positive attributes (opposed to positive): a dull, lifeless, negative character.
  6. lacking in constructiveness, helpfulness, optimism, cooperativeness, or the like: a man of negative viewpoint.
  7. encouraging or noting an unhealthy or unbalanced outlook toward something, especially toward sex or sexuality (used in combination):The song has a body-negative message.
  8. being without rewards, results, or effectiveness: a search of the premises proved negative.
  9. Mathematics, Physics.
    1. involving or noting subtraction; minus.
    2. measured or proceeding in the direction opposite to that which is considered as positive.
  10. Photography. noting an image in which the brightness values of the subject are reproduced so that the lightest areas are shown as the darkest.
  11. Electricity.
    1. of, relating to, or characterized by negative electricity.
    2. indicating a point in a circuit that has a lower potential than that of another point, the current flowing from the point of higher potential to the point of lower potential.
  12. Medicine/Medical.
    1. (of blood, affected tissue, etc.) failing to indicate the presence of a specified medical condition or substance.
    2. (of a diagnostic test) failing to indicate the presence of the medical condition or substance tested for:Test results for skin cancer were negative.
    3. (of a person) not having a specified medical condition, or not having a specified substance in the body (often used in combination):She tested negative for a staph infection.I’m Rh-negative.
  13. Chemistry. (of an element or group) tending to gain electrons and become negatively charged; acid.
  14. Physiology. responding in a direction away from the stimulus.
  15. of, relating to, or noting the south pole of a magnet.
  16. Logic. (of a proposition) denying the truth of the predicate with regard to the subject.


  1. a negative statement, answer, word, gesture, etc.: The ship signaled back a negative.
  2. a refusal of assent: to answer a request with a negative.
  3. the negative form of statement.
  4. a person or number of persons arguing against a resolution, statement, etc., especially a team upholding the negative side in a formal debate.
  5. a negative quality or characteristic.
  6. disadvantage; drawback: The plan is generally brilliant, but it has one or two negatives.
  7. Mathematics.
    1. a minus sign.
    2. a negative quantity or symbol.
  8. Photography. a negative image, as on a film, used chiefly for making positives.
  9. Electricity. the negative plate or element in a voltaic cell.
  10. Archaic. a veto, or right of veto: The delegation may exercise its negative.


  1. (used to indicate a negative response): “You won’t come with us?” “Negative.”

verb (used with object), neg·a·tived, neg·a·tiv·ing.

  1. to deny; contradict.
  2. to refute or disprove (something).
  3. to refuse assent or consent to; veto.
  4. to neutralize or counteract.


  1. (used to indicate disagreement, denial of permission, etc.): Negative, pilot—complete your mission as directed.


  1. in the negative, in the form of a negative response, as a refusal, denial, or disagreement; no: The reply, when it finally came, was in the negative.


  1. expressing or meaning a refusal or deniala negative answer
  2. lacking positive or affirmative qualities, such as enthusiasm, interest, or optimism
  3. showing or tending towards opposition or resistance
    1. measured in a direction opposite to that regarded as positive
    2. having the same magnitude but opposite sense to an equivalent positive quantity
  4. biology indicating movement or growth away from a particular stimulusnegative geotropism
  5. med (of the results of a diagnostic test) indicating absence of the disease or condition for which the test was made
  6. another word for minus (def. 3b), minus (def. 5)
  7. physics
    1. (of an electric charge) having the same polarity as the charge of an electron
    2. (of a body, system, ion, etc) having a negative electric charge; having an excess of electrons
    3. (of a point in an electric circuit) having a lower electrical potential than some other point with an assigned zero potential
  8. short for electronegative
  9. of or relating to a photographic negative
  10. logic (of a categorial proposition) denying the satisfaction by the subject of the predicate, as in some men are irrational; no pigs have wings
  11. astrology of, relating to, or governed by the signs of the zodiac of the earth and water classifications, which are thought to be associated with a receptive passive nature
  12. short for Rh negative


  1. a statement or act of denial, refusal, or negation
  2. a negative person or thing
  3. photog a piece of photographic film or a plate, previously exposed and developed, showing an image that, in black-and-white photography, has a reversal of tones. In colour photography the image is in complementary colours to the subject so that blue sky appears yellow, green grass appears purple, etc
  4. physics a negative object, such as a terminal or a plate in a voltaic cell
  5. a sentence or other linguistic element with a negative meaning, as the English word not
  6. a quantity less than zero or a quantity to be subtracted
  7. logic a negative proposition
  8. archaic the right of veto
  9. in the negative indicating denial or refusal

sentence substitute

  1. (esp in military communications) a signal code word for no 1

verb (tr)

  1. to deny or nullify; negate
  2. to show to be false; disprove
  3. to refuse to consent to or approve ofthe proposal was negatived

adj.c.1400, “expressing denial,” from Old French negatif (13c.) and directly from Latin negativus “that which denies,” from negat-, past participle stem of negare “deny, say no” (see deny). Meaning “expressing negation” is from c.1500; that of “characterized by absence” is from 1560s. Algebraic sense is from 1670s. The electricity sense is from 1755. Negative Capability, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. [John Keats, letter, Dec. 21, 1817] Related: Negatively. n.late 14c., “a prohibition; absence, nonexistence; opposite,” from Old French negatif and directly from Latin negativus (see negative (adj.)). Meaning “a negative statement” is from 1560s. As a response, “I refuse, disagree, no,” from 1945. Meaning “a negative quality” is from 1640s. In mathematics, “a negative number,” from 1706. Photographic sense first recorded 1853. adj.

  1. Expressing, containing, or consisting of a negation, refusal, or denial.
  2. Marked by failure of response or absence of a reaction.
  3. Not indicating the presence of microorganisms, disease, or a specific condition.
  4. Moving or turning away from a stimulus, such as light.
  5. Relating to or designating an electric charge of the same sign as that of an electron.

  1. Less than zero.
  2. Having the electric charge or voltage less than zero.
  3. Devoid of evidence of a suspected condition or disease, as a diagnostic test.

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