• synonyms


See more synonyms for privative on Thesaurus.com
  1. causing, or tending to cause, deprivation.
  2. consisting in or characterized by the taking away, loss, or lack of something.
  3. Grammar. indicating negation or absence.
Show More
  1. Grammar. a privative element, as a- in asymmetric.
  2. something that is deprived.
Show More

Origin of privative

1350–1400; Middle English privatif < Latin prīvātīvus. See private, -ive
Related formspriv·a·tive·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for privative

Historical Examples

  • Blindness is a 'privative', to be blind is to be in a state of privation, but is not a 'privative'.

    The Categories


  • It is a negative principle, and negative in the sense of privative.

  • Name from - privative and , foliage, alluding to the naked stalks.

  • Ex, Latin prefix; privative in place of "e" when next letter is a vowel.

  • He contended that cold was probably only privative, and not a positive existence.

British Dictionary definitions for privative


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

Word Origin

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).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper