negative Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “negative” in the English Dictionary

"negative" in British English

See all translations

negativeadjective

uk   /ˈneɡ.ə.tɪv/  us   /-t̬ɪv/

negative adjective (NO)

B2 expressing "no": We ​received a negative ​answer to ​ourrequest.
Opposite
A2 A negative ​sentence or phrase is one that ​contains a word such as "not", "no", "never", or "nothing": "I've never ​seen him in my ​life" is a negative ​sentence. "Don't" and "do not" are negative ​forms of "do".
More examples

negative adjective (WITHOUT HOPE)

B1 not ​expecting good things, or ​likely to ​consider only the ​badside of a ​situation: a negative ​attitude You're so negative about everything!
Compare
More examples

negative adjective (BAD)

B2 bad or ​harmful: The ​warmwinter has had a very negative effect/​impact on the ​skiindustry.

negative adjective (ELECTRICITY)

of the ​type of ​electricalcharge that is ​carried by electrons
Opposite

negative adjective (TEST RESULTS)

(of a ​medicaltest) ​showing that the ​patient does not have the ​disease or ​condition for which he or she has been ​tested: a negative ​pregnancytest The ​results of his ​HIVtest were negative.
Opposite

negative adjective (BELOW ZERO)

(of a ​number or ​amount) less than zero: negative ​numbers
Opposite

negative adjective (BLOOD TYPE)

not having the rhesus factor in the ​blood: Her ​bloodtype is O negative.
Opposite
negatively
adverb uk   us   /-li/
Grammar

negativenoun

uk   /ˈneɡ.ə.tɪv/  us   /-t̬ɪv/

negative noun (PHOTOGRAPH)

[C] (informal neg) a ​piece of ​film from which a ​photograph can be ​produced, and in which ​light and ​darkareasappear the ​opposite to the way in which they ​appear in the ​photograph: black-and-white/​colour negatives I've ​borrowed the negatives of her ​weddingphotos so I can get some ​picturesprinted.

negative noun (NO)

[C or U] a word or ​statement that ​expresses "no": I didn't ​hearyouranswer, Ed - was that a negative? I'm ​afraid the ​reply was ​definitely in the negative (= was "no").

negative noun (BAD THING)

[C] a ​badfeature or ​characteristic: He always ​looks for the negatives in any ​situation.
Grammar
(Definition of negative from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"negative" in American English

See all translations

negativeadjective

negative adjective (NO)

 us   /ˈneɡ·ə·t̬ɪv/ expressing no or not, or ​expressingrefusal: We ​received a negative ​answer to ​ourrequest.  us   /ˈneɡ·ə·t̬ɪv/ A negative ​sentence or phrase is one that ​contains a word such as no, not, ​nor, never, or nothing.  us   /ˈneɡ·ə·t̬ɪv/ A ​medicaltest that is negative ​shows that you do not have that ​disease or ​condition.

negative adjective (NOT HAPPY)

 us   /ˈneɡ·ə·t̬ɪv/ not ​happy, ​hopeful, or ​approving; ​tending to ​consider only ​bad things: a negative ​attitude All the ​candidates in the ​mayoralcampaignran negative ​ads (= ​advertising saying ​bad things about each other).

negative adjective (LESS THAN ZERO)

algebra us   /ˈneɡ·ə·t̬ɪv/ [not gradable] (of a ​number or ​amount) less than zero: negative ​numbers

negative adjective (ART)

art /ˈneɡ·ə·t̬ɪv/ (of ​spaces and ​shapes in a ​painting, ​statue, ​drawing, etc.) ​empty, or ​lackingobjects or other ​particularfeatures; ​background

negative adjective (ELECTRICITY)

physics us   /ˈneɡ·ə·t̬ɪv/ [not gradable] of the ​type of ​electrical charge that an electron has

negativenoun

 us   /ˈneɡ·ə·t̬ɪv/

negative noun (PHOTOGRAPH)

[C] a ​piece of ​film in which ​lightareasappeardark and ​darkareasappearlight, the ​opposite of how they will ​appear in the ​photograph made from it

negative noun (NO)

[C/U] a word, phrase, or ​statement that ​expresses no or not, or that ​expressesrefusal: [U] The ​governorreplied in the ​affirmative (= The ​governor said no).
(Definition of negative from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"negative" in Business English

See all translations

negativeadjective

uk   us   /ˈneɡətɪv/
bad or harmful: Its ​profitsrose as ​highersales and ​costcutsoffset the negative ​impact of ​lowerprices.have a negative effect on sth This ​trade could eventually have a negative ​effect on the ​economy and ​prices. Recognizing the ​costlyeffects of negative ​publicity, the ​company began to ​study the ​environmentalimpacts of its ​products. negative aspects/consequences
expressing 'no': a negative answer/​response
emphasizing the ​bad possibilities in a ​situation: be negative about sth Small and medium-size ​businesses were more negative about the ​economy than last ​year. negative ​attitudes/comments/​reactions
less than zero: Employment ​growth was negative for ​manufacturing over the past ​year. Medical ​bills strained the ​budget, and before ​long their ​checkingaccount had a negative ​balance.

negativenoun

uk   us   /ˈneɡətɪv/
[C] a ​bad characteristic, ​piece of ​news, etc.: Traders see few negatives, saying ​hi-tech and ​telecomsshares will continue their ​rise.
answer/respond/reply in the negative to give an answer of 'no': Issuers that do not have a CUSIP ​number should answer Question 8 in the negative.
(Definition of negative from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of negative?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day
faith school

a school that is financially supported by a particular religious group, usually for children from that religion

Word of the Day

Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
by Cambridge Dictionaries Online,
August 27, 2015
The English language is constantly changing. You know that. But did you know that at Cambridge Dictionaries Online we keep track of the changes? We continually add new words and new meanings to our online dictionary for learners of English. Some of them are new to English entirely (neologisms), and some

Read More 

hyperpalatable adjective
hyperpalatable adjective
August 24, 2015
describes food with heightened levels of sugar and salt, intended to be extremely appealing In Brazil, where the prevalence of overweight and obese adults has doubled since 1980, crisps, biscuits, energy bars and sugary drinks formulated to be ‘hyper-palatable’ are much more widely eaten than previously.

Read More