negative Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “negative” in the English Dictionary

"negative" in British English

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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".

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  • 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

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  • 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 (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

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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 ​electricalcharge 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

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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)
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