adjective Physical Chemistry.
  1. containing negative electricity; tending to migrate to the positive pole in electrolysis.
  2. assuming negative potential when in contact with a dissimilar substance.
  3. nonmetallic.

Origin of electronegative

First recorded in 1800–10; electro- + negative
Related formse·lec·tro·neg·a·tiv·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for electronegativity


  1. the state of being electronegative
  2. a measure of the ability of a specified atom to attract electrons in a molecule


  1. having a negative electric charge
  2. (of an atom, group, molecule, etc) tending to gain or attract electrons and form negative ions or polarized bondsCompare electropositive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

electronegativity in Medicine


  1. Having a negative electric charge.
  2. Tending to attract electrons to form a chemical bond.
  3. Capable of acting as a negative electrode.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

electronegativity in Science


  1. Tending to attract electrons and to form a negative ion. Nonmetals are generally electronegative.
  2. Having a negative electric charge.
  3. Capable of acting as a negative electrode.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.