[ neg-uh-ti-viz-uh m ]
/ ˈnɛg ə tɪˌvɪz əm /


a negative or pessimistic attitude.
Psychology. a tendency to resist external commands, suggestions, or expectations, or internal stimuli, as hunger, by doing nothing or something contrary or unrelated to the stimulus.
any system of negative philosophy, as agnosticism or skepticism.

Nearby words

  1. negative theology,
  2. negative transfer,
  3. negative-raising,
  4. negative-strand virus,
  5. negatively,
  6. negativity,
  7. negaton,
  8. negator,
  9. negatory,
  10. negatron

Origin of negativism

First recorded in 1815–25; negative + -ism

Related formsneg·a·tiv·ist, nounneg·a·tiv·is·tic, adjectivenon·neg·a·tiv·ism, nounnon·neg·a·tiv·is·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for negativistic

British Dictionary definitions for negativistic


/ (ˈnɛɡətɪvˌɪzəm) /


a tendency to be or a state of being unconstructively critical
any sceptical or derisive system of thought
psychiatry refusal to do what is expected or suggested or the tendency to do the opposite
Derived Formsnegativist, noun, adjectivenegativistic, adjective

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

Word Origin and History for negativistic



1824, "the policy of opposition;" see negative + -ism. In a psychological sense, it is attested from 1892.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for negativistic


[ nĕgə-tĭ-vĭz′əm ]


A tendency to do the opposite of what one is requested to do, or to resist stubbornly for no apparent reason.
Related formsnega•tiv•ist n.neg′a•tiv•istic adj.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.