- involving or noting subtraction; minus.
- measured or proceeding in the direction opposite to that which is considered as positive.
- of, relating to, or characterized by negative electricity.
- indicating a point in a circuit that has a lower potential than that of another point, the current flowing from the point of higher potential to the point of lower potential.
- (of blood, affected tissue, etc.) failing to indicate the presence of a specified medical condition or substance.
- (of a diagnostic test) failing to indicate the presence of the medical condition or substance tested for:Test results for skin cancer were negative.
- (of a person) not having a specified medical condition, or not having a specified substance in the body (often used in combination):She tested negative for a staph infection.I'm Rh-negative.
- a minus sign.
- a negative quantity or symbol.
verb (used with object), neg·a·tived, neg·a·tiv·ing.
Origin of negative
Synonyms for negative
- measured in a direction opposite to that regarded as positive
- having the same magnitude but opposite sense to an equivalent positive quantity
- (of an electric charge) having the same polarity as the charge of an electron
- (of a body, system, ion, etc) having a negative electric charge; having an excess of electrons
- (of a point in an electric circuit) having a lower electrical potential than some other point with an assigned zero potential
c.1400, "expressing denial," from Old French negatif (13c.) and directly from Latin negativus "that which denies," from negat-, past participle stem of negare "deny, say no" (see deny). Meaning "expressing negation" is from c.1500; that of "characterized by absence" is from 1560s. Algebraic sense is from 1670s. The electricity sense is from 1755.
Negative Capability, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. [John Keats, letter, Dec. 21, 1817]
late 14c., "a prohibition; absence, nonexistence; opposite," from Old French negatif and directly from Latin negativus (see negative (adj.)). Meaning "a negative statement" is from 1560s. As a response, "I refuse, disagree, no," from 1945. Meaning "a negative quality" is from 1640s. In mathematics, "a negative number," from 1706. Photographic sense first recorded 1853.