• synonyms


[neg-uh-ti-viz-uh m]
See more synonyms for negativism on Thesaurus.com
  1. a negative or pessimistic attitude.
  2. 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.
  3. any system of negative philosophy, as agnosticism or skepticism.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for negativistic

Historical Examples

  • Disposing causes of negativistic phenomena are: the ambitendency by which every impulse is accompanied by its opposite.

    Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology

    C. G. Jung

  • Very often the failure to swallow and anomalous habits of excretion seem to be negativistic in their nature.

    Benign Stupors

    August Hoch

  • A final stage of resistance is reached when propaganda develops a negativistic defensive reaction.

  • He was mute, negativistic, and assumed various uncomfortable and constrained attitudes.

British Dictionary definitions for negativistic


  1. a tendency to be or a state of being unconstructively critical
  2. any sceptical or derisive system of thought
  3. psychiatry refusal to do what is expected or suggested or the tendency to do the opposite
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

negativistic in Medicine


  1. A tendency to do the opposite of what one is requested to do, or to resist stubbornly for no apparent reason.
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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.