[ priv-uh-tiv ]
/ ˈprɪv ə tɪv /


causing, or tending to cause, deprivation.
consisting in or characterized by the taking away, loss, or lack of something.
Grammar. indicating negation or absence.


Grammar. a privative element, as a- in asymmetric.
something that is deprived.

Nearby words

  1. privateersman,
  2. privately,
  3. privation,
  4. privatisation,
  5. privatism,
  6. privatively,
  7. privatization,
  8. privatization issue,
  9. privatize,
  10. privet

Origin of privative

1350–1400; Middle English privatif < Latin prīvātīvus. See private, -ive

Related formspriv·a·tive·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for privative

British Dictionary definitions for privative


/ (ˈprɪvətɪv) /


causing privation
expressing lack or negation, as for example the English suffix -less and prefix un-
logic obsolete (of a proposition) that predicates a logical privation
Derived Formsprivatively, adverb

Word Origin for privative

C16: from Latin prīvātīvus indicating loss, negative

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 privative



1580s, "expressing negation" (as do the prefixes un-, a- (2), etc.), from Latin privativus "denoting privation, negative," from privatus, past participle of privare (see private).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper