What does negative mean?

Definitions for negative
ˈnɛg ə tɪvneg·a·tive

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word negative.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. negativenoun

    a reply of denial

    "he answered in the negative"

  2. negativeadjective

    a piece of photographic film showing an image with light and shade or colors reversed

  3. negativeadjective

    characterized by or displaying negation or denial or opposition or resistance; having no positive features

    "a negative outlook on life"; "a colorless negative personality"; "a negative evaluation"; "a negative reaction to an advertising campaign"

  4. negativeadjective

    expressing or consisting of a negation or refusal or denial

  5. negativeadjective

    having the quality of something harmful or unpleasant

    "ran a negative campaign"; "delinquents retarded by their negative outlook on life"

  6. negative, disconfirmingadjective

    not indicating the presence of microorganisms or disease or a specific condition

    "the HIV test was negative"

  7. negativeadjective

    reckoned in a direction opposite to that regarded as positive

    "negative interest rates"

  8. negativeadjective

    less than zero

    "a negative number"

  9. damaging, negativeadjective

    designed or tending to discredit, especially without positive or helpful suggestions

    "negative criticism"

  10. negative, electronegative, negatively chargedadjective

    having a negative charge

    "electrons are negative"

  11. minus, negativeverb

    involving disadvantage or harm

    "minus (or negative) factors"

  12. veto, blackball, negativeverb

    vote against; refuse to endorse; refuse to assent

    "The President vetoed the bill"


  1. negativenoun

    refusal or withholding of assents; veto, prohibition

  2. negativenoun

    an image in which dark areas represent light ones, and the converse

  3. negativenoun

    a word that indicates negation

  4. negativenoun

    a negative quantity

  5. negativenoun

    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 of muscle movement.

  6. negativeverb

    To veto

  7. negativeverb

    To contradict

  8. negativeverb

    To disprove

  9. negativeadjective

    not positive or neutral

  10. negativeadjective

    of electrical charge of an electron and related particles

  11. negativeadjective

    of number, less than zero

  12. negativeadjective

    denying a proposition

  13. negativeadjective

    damaging; undesirable; unfavourable

  14. negativeadjective

    pessimistic; not tending to see the bright side of things. (Often used pejoratively.)

  15. negativeadjective

    bad, unwanted, disagreeable, potentially damaging, to be avoided, excessively difficult; (often precedes 'energy', 'feeling', 'emotion' or 'thought').

  16. Etymology: From negativus, from negare; see negate.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Negativeadjective

    Etymology: negatif, Fr. negativus, Latin.

    There is another way of denying Christ with our mouths, which is negative, when we do not acknowledge and confess him. Robert South, Sermons.

    Consider the necessary connection that is between the negative and positive part of our duty. John Tillotson, Serm. 1.

    Denying me any power of a negative voice as king, they are not ashamed to seek to deprive me of the liberty of using my reason with a good conscience. Charles I .

  2. Negativenoun

    Of negatives we have far the least certainty; and they are usually hardest, and many times impossible to be proved. John Tillotson, Serm. 1.

    A purer substance is defin’d,
    But by an heap of negatives combin’d;
    Ask what a spirit is, you’ll hear them cry,
    It hath no matter, no mortality. John Cleveland, Poems.


  1. Negative

    Negative is a song by the English alternative rock band Mansun. The song was written by Paul Draper, Dominic Chad, Stove and Andie Rathbone. It was recorded and produced by Paul Draper and Mark 'Spike' Stent during sessions for the group's second studio album. The song was released as the third single in 1998 from the group's second album, Six. Despite being one of the album's more traditional songs the single peaked low at #27 on the UK Singles Chart, breaking the group's run of seven consecutive top twenty singles. The music video for "Negative" was directed by Jamie Thraves.


  1. negative

    Negative is a term used to refer, broadly, to things that are undesirable, unfavorable, harmful, or detrimental, or to denote the absence or opposite of positive qualities or actions. In mathematics, it is used to indicate a number less than zero. In photography, it refers to an image where light areas appear dark and vice versa. Its exact meaning can vary depending on the context.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Negativeadjective

    denying; implying, containing, or asserting denial, negation or refusal; returning the answer no to an inquiry or request; refusing assent; as, a negative answer; a negative opinion; -- opposed to affirmative

  2. Negativeadjective

    not positive; without affirmative statement or demonstration; indirect; consisting in the absence of something; privative; as, a negative argument; a negative morality; negative criticism

  3. Negativeadjective

    asserting absence of connection between a subject and a predicate; as, a negative proposition

  4. Negativeadjective

    of or pertaining to a picture upon glass or other material, in which the lights and shades of the original, and the relations of right and left, are reversed

  5. Negativeadjective

    metalloidal; nonmetallic; -- contracted with positive or basic; as, the nitro group is negative

  6. Negativenoun

    a proposition by which something is denied or forbidden; a conception or term formed by prefixing the negative particle to one which is positive; an opposite or contradictory term or conception

  7. Negativenoun

    a word used in denial or refusal; as, not, no

  8. Negativenoun

    the refusal or withholding of assents; veto

  9. Negativenoun

    that side of a question which denies or refuses, or which is taken by an opposing or denying party; the relation or position of denial or opposition; as, the question was decided in the negative

  10. Negativenoun

    a picture upon glass or other material, in which the light portions of the original are represented in some opaque material (usually reduced silver), and the dark portions by the uncovered and transparent or semitransparent ground of the picture

  11. Negativenoun

    the negative plate of a voltaic or electrolytic cell

  12. Negativeverb

    to prove unreal or intrue; to disprove

  13. Negativeverb

    to reject by vote; to refuse to enact or sanction; as, the Senate negatived the bill

  14. Negativeverb

    to neutralize the force of; to counteract

  15. Etymology: [F. ngatif, L. negativus, fr. negare to deny. See Negation.]


  1. Negative

    In photography, a negative is an image, usually on a strip or sheet of transparent plastic film, in which the lightest areas of the photographed subject appear darkest and the darkest areas appear lightest. This reversed order occurs because of the extremely light-sensitive chemicals a camera film must use to capture an image quickly enough for ordinary picture-taking, which are darkened, rather than bleached, by exposure to light and subsequent photographic processing. In the case of color negatives, the colors are also reversed into their respective complementary colors. Typical color negatives have an overall dull orange tint due to an automatic color-masking feature that ultimately results in improved color reproduction. Negatives are normally used to make positive prints on photographic paper by projecting the negative onto the paper with a photographic enlarger or making a contact print. The paper is also darkened in proportion to its exposure to light, so a second reversal results which restores light and dark to their correct order. Negatives were once commonly made on a thin sheet of glass rather than a plastic film, and some of the earliest negatives were made on paper. It is incorrect to call a photograph a negative solely because it is on a transparent material. Transparent prints can be made by printing a negative onto special positive film, as is done to make traditional motion picture film prints for use in theaters. Some films used in cameras are designed to be developed by reversal processing, which produces the final positive, instead of a negative, on the original film. Positives on film or glass are known as transparencies or diapositives, and if mounted in small frames designed for use in a slide projector or magnifying viewer they are commonly called slides.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Negative

    neg′a-tiv, adj. that denies or refuses—opp. to Affirmative: implying absence: that stops, hinders, neutralises—opp. to Positive: in photography, exhibiting the reverse, as dark for light, light for dark: (logic) denying the connection between a subject and a predicate: (algebra) noting a quantity to be subtracted.—n. a word or statement by which something is denied: the right or act of saying 'no,' or of refusing assent: the side of a question or the decision which denies what is affirmed: in photography, an image on glass or other medium, in which the lights and shades are the opposite of those in nature, used for printing positive impressions from on paper, &c.: (gram.) a word that denies.—v.t. to prove the contrary: to reject by vote.—adv. Neg′atively.—ns. Neg′ativeness, Neg′ativism, Negativ′ity.—adj. Neg′atory, expressing denial.—Negative bath, a silver solution in which photographic negatives are placed to be sensitised; Negative electricity, electricity with a relatively low potential, electricity such as is developed by rubbing resinous bodies with flannel, opposite to that obtained by rubbing glass; Negative quantity (math.), a quantity with a minus sign ( - ) before it, indicating that it is either to be subtracted, or reckoned in an opposite direction from some other with a plus sign; Negative sign, the sign ( - or minus) of subtraction. [L. negativusnegāre, to deny.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Negative

    in photography a picture of an object in which the lights and shadows are reversed, so that the shady part appears white and the light in it appears dark.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. negative

    This term is sometimes used to express the result of measures or enterprises which, though not entirely successful, are not productive of serious or mischievous consequences. Hence the British expeditions to Spain and Walcheren may be considered as having had negative success.

Suggested Resources

  1. negative

    Song lyrics by negative -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by negative on the Lyrics.com website.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'negative' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2374

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'negative' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1803

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'negative' in Adjectives Frequency: #295

How to pronounce negative?

How to say negative in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of negative in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of negative in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of negative in a Sentence

  1. Alfred A. Montapert:

    Avoid destructive thinking. Improper negative thoughts sink people. A ship can sail around the world many, many times, but just let enough water get into the ship and it will sink. Just so with the human mind. Let enough negative thoughts or improper thoughts get into the human mind and the person sinks just like a ship.

  2. Felice Leonardo (Leo) Buscaglia, Ph.D.:

    Don't avoid people who create negative states within you. We have a tendency to turn around and walk away, but they are going to require you to reevaluate yourself and see yourself in a new light. Sally doesn't upset you. You upset you. She puts you in a negative state because she doesn't meet your expectations. Well, tough for you.

  3. Yannick Naud:

    I think we are bound to get to negative (transaction) yields eventually on these companies, investors are having to choose between a bank deposit rate that is negative and a company rate that is slightly less negative. The company may be the better credit risk, particularly if it is AAA-rated.

  4. Tom Whitmeyer:

    Liquid hydrogen is at a negative 450 degrees Fahrenheit( negative 268 degrees Celsius), liquid oxygen is negative 273( negative 169 degrees Celsius), so it's very cold substances, i used to participate in this back in the Shuttle Program and it's like watching a ballet. You've got pressure, volume and temperature. And you're really kind of working all those parameters to have a successful tanking operation.

  5. Kendall Coffey:

    The impact on future jurors has been documented by studies confirming that negative publicity contributes to negative results.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for negative

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for negative »


Find a translation for the negative definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"negative." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/negative>.

Discuss these negative definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for negative? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    difficult to describe
    • A. eminent
    • B. unsealed
    • C. defiant
    • D. elusive

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for negative: