Definition of negative in English:



  • 1Consisting in or characterized by the absence rather than the presence of distinguishing features.

    • ‘The records of her transaction, and loan would have been available and in their absence I draw a negative inference.’
    1. 1.1 Expressing or implying denial, disagreement, or refusal.
      ‘that, I take it, was a negative answer’
      • ‘‘Instead of having doors opened to us, we have received only negative answers,’ said Alvarez.’
      • ‘She has never given a negative answer to a producer or director who has approached her.’
      • ‘True, the insurgents' action took place 15 years ago, but your negative answer makes me wonder.’
      • ‘A negative vote in either arena should be sufficient to stop the war; formal authorization in both arenas should be required to go to war.’
      • ‘So the question must have encouraged a higher negative answer.’
      • ‘That would have at least prevented the embarrassment of negative votes, which is really what this is all about.’
      • ‘I don't believe so but we may and if we have a negative answer, I will stand here in front of you in March and share that with you and we'll have to talk about it together.’
      • ‘If the answer is negative, ask about any history of tobacco use.’
      • ‘If you are wondering whether the combined talent on display can improve the pedestrian material, the answer is indifferently negative.’
      • ‘The negative answer by the jury cannot be supported.’
      • ‘Instead they will provide non-verbal clues implying a negative response.’
      • ‘He asked them directly if there was any Cuban involvement with bioterrorism and got a negative answer from all of them.’
      • ‘But times have changed since the last vote and two more reasons for a negative vote have been added.’
      • ‘In Vietnam, for example, a direct refusal or negative answer is considered impolite and crude.’
      • ‘Some bank personnel do not seem to know that it is common courtesy to answer letters, even if the answer is negative.’
      • ‘However, much to the surprise of Mr. Antony, there was a negative answer from a few.’
      • ‘Here's a negative vote of confidence in the Bahamas.’
      • ‘If the answer is negative then surely we have a stake in any debate about reform of that state, otherwise we leave the field free to the real enemies of public services.’
      • ‘I was surprised to receive negative answers: how the Bible doesn't function primarily to restrict or convict them.’
      • ‘She asked Albine if she wanted money; the answer was negative.’
      saying ‘no’, in the negative, rejecting, refusing
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of the results of a test or experiment) indicating that a certain substance or condition is not present or does not exist.
      ‘a negative test result’
      • ‘The test results were negative on three occasions.’
      • ‘If she is tested, a negative result would reduce her concerns somewhat.’
      • ‘If your test results are negative, it means that no blood was found.’
      • ‘A negative test result was usually an accurate indication that the client did not have the disorder.’
      • ‘When test results are negative, it may help reduce maternal anxiety earlier.’
      • ‘He maintained that he had AIDS, despite several negative results of HIV tests.’
      • ‘All manner of latent exotic infections might be coming back to haunt him, but all the test results were negative.’
      • ‘Autoimmune makers and hepatitis B and C serologic test results were negative.’
      • ‘Treatment should be discontinued if test results are negative.’
      • ‘If this combination is used, women with negative results on both tests should be rescreened no more than every three years.’
      • ‘Repeat brushings are indicated for suspicious or negative results not consistent with the clinical or radiologic findings.’
      • ‘The presence of only a control line on the dipstick indicates a negative test result.’
      • ‘All the test results were negative for residual disease until October 1998.’
      • ‘The Irish Department of Agriculture yesterday lifted trade restrictions in Co Louth following negative test results.’
      • ‘If these results are negative, further testing to rule out HCV is indicated.’
      • ‘In two other patients both the blood film and the test gave negative results at presentation but positive results on subsequent days.’
      • ‘In addition, a patch test should show a negative result.’
      • ‘But we know from past tests that labs with substandard methodology were used and therefore the test results were negative for DU.’
      • ‘The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said today that all tests had now shown negative results, and the movement restrictions would be lifted.’
      • ‘All 10 samples that were non-reactive on repeat testing gave negative results on immunoblotting.’
    3. 1.3 (of a person) not having a specified condition or showing traces of a specified substance in their body.
      ‘all the patients have tested negative for TB’
      in combination ‘HPV-negative’
      • ‘Fifty-one of 77 patients tested negative for all the antibodies examined.’
      • ‘She's already tested negative for drugs in a urine sample.’
      • ‘Coincidentally, I had just had my appendix out and the blood test had shown that I was negative at the time, so I took a doctor's certificate to the newspapers.’
      • ‘Thinking he was negative, Joe infected his boyfriend, whom he met this year.’
      • ‘Her husband, who also has the symptoms, tested negative.’
      • ‘The study found that women who tested negative were happier at the end of the study than they were at the outset.’
      • ‘She was checked for Cushings disease but was negative.’
      • ‘Table 3 shows the results for women who stayed HPV negative compared with women who stayed HPV positive.’
      • ‘Drug taking was also an issue in the prison with only 75 % of inmates testing negative for drugs.’
      • ‘He has multiple tick bites in the recent past, however, he tested negative for Lyme disease.’
    4. 1.4US informal Denoting a complete lack of something.
      ‘they were described as having negative vulnerability to water entry’
    5. 1.5Grammar Logic (of a word, clause, or proposition) stating that something is not the case; expressing negation.
      Contrasted with affirmative and interrogative
      • ‘This view arises from the use of the Pali term anatta, which involves the attaching of a negative prefix to the word for self.’
      • ‘A deduction with a negative conclusion must have one negative premise.’
    6. 1.6as exclamation No (usually used in a military context)
      ‘‘Any snags, Captain?’ ‘Negative, she's running like clockwork.’’
  • 2(of a person, attitude, or situation) not desirable or optimistic.

    ‘the new tax was having a negative effect on car sales’
    ‘not all the news is negative’
    ‘I don't want to be negative, but I don't see how we could do it’
    • ‘A few comments say our view of the new Alpha roadmap is either hopelessly optimistic, or unfairly negative.’
    • ‘We have been following more on western way of life whose effects have been negative.’
    • ‘Despite worries about possible negative health effects of mobile phone use, various studies over the past few years have proved inconclusive.’
    • ‘I'm no optimist but your negative ranting is bemusing.’
    • ‘These ads and the media coverage of these ads may have a multiplier effect of negative coverage.’
    • ‘It showed that women and their families felt recent changes in maternity services had a more negative than positive effect.’
    • ‘Parrish focused specifically on the effect of the wall on children in the area and the negative psychological effects on the population.’
    • ‘Optimism can counteract the negative impact stress, tension and anxiety has on your immune system and well-being.’
    • ‘Obviously there are individual differences in sensitivity to the effects of negative stereotypes on performance.’
    • ‘What effects do you think negative politicking will have on this election and future elections?’
    • ‘I hope that there are more people in the world who have an optimistic view than a negative one.’
    • ‘This prolonged increase in adrenaline can have negative health effects on the body.’
    • ‘A reading of 50 or above on the index means that business executives are more optimistic than negative.’
    • ‘Are there negative health effects from subtle racism?’
    • ‘The hysteria created towards homeland-security and the protection of American borders has also had negative and distorting effects on American science.’
    • ‘Subsequent days had not been as dramatic but the overall effect had been negative, he said.’
    • ‘Moreover, negative health effects are seen at both ends.’
    • ‘What was the effect of these negative attitudes on the immigrants themselves?’
    • ‘But for the immediate future, the effect of a declining currency will be negative.’
    • ‘Here, we consider the concept of negative advertising and the effects such practices have on modern-day campaigning.’
    pessimistic, defeatist, gloomy, gloom-ridden, cynical, bleak, fatalistic, dismissive, anti, antipathetic, uncooperative, obstructive
    harmful, bad, adverse, damaging, detrimental, unfortunate, unfavourable, disadvantageous
    View synonyms
  • 3(of a quantity) less than zero.

    • ‘The series is said to converge if the two series, one defined over the positive integers, the other defined over the negative integers, both converge.’
    • ‘The Arabs did not know about the advances of the Hindus so they had neither negative quantities nor abbreviations for their unknowns.’
    • ‘If you win the bid and your score for that hand is negative (below zero) you lose nothing and get 1 point.’
    • ‘The measurement begins at zero, and as the negative number increases below zero, so does the severity of myopia.’
    • ‘Zero is used and his rules for arithmetical operations includes zero and negative numbers.’
    • ‘Given that he was building on the knowledge and understanding of Brahmagupta it is not surprising that Bhaskaracharya understood about zero and negative numbers.’
    • ‘Brahmagupta attempted to give the rules for arithmetic involving zero and negative numbers in the seventh century.’
    • ‘Well, the real numbers are all the positive numbers, negative numbers, and zero.’
    • ‘Many believe that the preservation of that right has zero or a negative value.’
    • ‘As negative values of x get closer to zero, the value of f gets closer to zero.’
    • ‘The usual calculation of the possible range of values for small observed frequencies often included zero, and even negative values.’
    • ‘Integers are the whole numbers, negative whole numbers, and zero.’
    • ‘That's why we had to invent negative integers, to introduce a new set Z for which the statement’
    • ‘Multiplication of negative numbers was also completely understood by al-Samawal.’
    • ‘What some of these people noticed was that if you pretended you could take the square root of a negative number, and you went ahead and didn't blink, you could come out with the right answer.’
    • ‘It is a sobering thought that eight hundred years later European mathematics would be struggling to cope without the use of negative numbers and of zero.’
    • ‘Indeed Cardan gives precisely the conditions here for the formula to involve square roots of negative numbers.’
    • ‘Find the smallest index of a basic (left-hand side) variables with a negative value.’
    • ‘Let's see how a mathematician might understand what's going on when a negative number is multiplied by a negative number.’
    • ‘Private analysts, however, have forecast a zero or negative figure.’
    1. 3.1 Denoting decrease or reversal.
      ‘the industry suffered negative growth in the 1990s’
      • ‘Since 1990, the North Korean economy has recorded a negative growth rate.’
      • ‘That means Spain effectively has negative interest rates.’
      • ‘Most observers maintain this contributed to political instability and a negative growth rate.’
      • ‘If this condition is not met, structural compounds are mobilized to maintain a minimum value of respiration which, in the model, is equivalent to a negative growth rate.’
      • ‘Some non-oil commodities are still showing negative growth.’
      • ‘Sometimes there is enough accompanying inflation to create negative real interest rates and erode the real value of debt.’
      • ‘Real interest rates have been negative since October 2002.’
      • ‘A donkey can avoid bad debts in a climate of strong economic growth, and negative real interest rates.’
      • ‘Part of this negative growth rate was due to emigration.’
      • ‘For example, other developed countries are now experiencing negative population growth rates.’
      • ‘But still, we only had one quarter of negative growth, and this year we're going to grow at 4 percent.’
      • ‘The loss of negative pressure decreased the rate of raw feed going into the mill, thereby having an impact on the amount of material going to the kiln.’
      • ‘The target federal funds rate has now been below two percent, and real interest rates have been negative for nearly two years.’
      • ‘The Japanese economy, the second largest in the world, has recorded low or negative growth rates throughout the 1990s.’
      • ‘Financial experts have confirmed the phenomenon of negative real interest rates, but they have also dismissed the concern over inflation in China.’
      • ‘Some are even talking of stagflation - a damaging combination of high inflation and negative growth that has not reared its ugly head since the 1970s.’
      • ‘The current recession - defined as two straight quarters of negative growth - began last March.’
      • ‘With still negative real short-term interest rates in the US and parts of the eurozone, there will be a lot of money around for a while yet.’
      • ‘Obviously this cannot work, for no one would lend in return for negative interest rates.’
      • ‘Japan needs a deliberate inflation and negative real interest rates in order to reduce its excessive total debt and allow for recovery.’
  • 4Containing, producing, or denoting the kind of electric charge carried by electrons.

    • ‘All electrons are alike: they all carry the same negative charge, and they repel each other.’
    • ‘Each electron carries one unit of negative charge, and there is the same number of electrons as protons, so the atom as a whole is electrically neutral.’
    • ‘You need a good conductor that carries the electrical current by the passage of oxygen ions, these are oxygen atoms which carry a negative charge.’
    • ‘We also observed a decrease in the binding of the two anionic species when the membranes carried a negative charge.’
    • ‘If the positive charge of the nucleus equals the negative charge of the electrons, the atom as a whole carries no charge.’
    • ‘We take as givens the forces of gravity, the laws of nature, the ideas that an electron has a negative charge and the protons a positive charge.’
    • ‘In solution, these strands have a slight negative electric charge, a fact that makes for some fascinating chemistry.’
    • ‘SDS is a detergent that carries a negative electrical charge.’
    • ‘Because nucleic acids always carry a negative charge, separation of nucleic acids occurs strictly by molecular size.’
    • ‘When the balloon is held up to a wall, the negative charge causes the electrons in the wall to move away from the area.’
    • ‘The particles that move are electrons, and they carry a negative charge.’
    • ‘Electrons have a negative charge, and the two Polar Regions tend to attract them.’
    • ‘These sheets also carry a negative charge which is balanced by positive ions bound between sheets.’
    • ‘The atom that gains electrons gains a negative charge, becoming an anion.’
    • ‘These ions usually carry several negative charges, so that potential barrier for them is expected to be very high.’
    • ‘Acidic aggregates are strongly polar and carry a net negative surface charge.’
    • ‘Since the DPPG lipid molecule carries a negative charge, an equal number of sodium ions were added to the system as counterions.’
    • ‘Water molecules have poles of positive and negative electric charge that are known to create attractive forces between cells, known as van der Waals forces.’
    • ‘The capillary wall carries a net negative charge, and acts as both a charge-selective and size-selective filter.’
    • ‘Surrounding it is a cloud of electrons, which are small, light subatomic particles with a negative charge.’
  • 5(of a photographic image) showing light and shade or colours reversed from those of the original.

    • ‘Look at a bright light and look away, and you see the negative image of it.’
    • ‘Some monk drew a perfect photographic negative image, is that what you want us to believe?’
    • ‘This whole process produces a black-and-white negative image of the subject photographed.’
    • ‘Plus, the colors are sharp, even when we are shown a negative image of Adams's work before it transitions to positive black and white.’
    • ‘The magic of photography takes negative images and can turn them into positive things of beauty, it fits so well with our theme.’
    • ‘During the same time, Henry Fox Talbot created negative images using paper soaked in silver chloride and fixed with a salt solution.’
  • 6Astrology
    Relating to or denoting any of the earth or water signs, considered passive in nature.

    • ‘Any negative matter on the earth would have fallen up billions of years ago, making the earth devoid of any negative matter.’
  • 7British (in Parliament) relating to or denoting proposed legislation which will come into force after a specified period unless explicitly rejected in a parliamentary vote.

    • ‘By its decision taken in 1984 the Commission rejected an application for negative clearance and the association appealed.’
    • ‘Once it became possible for the minister to be outvoted, the national parliaments lost even this nominal, negative control over decisions.’
    • ‘While such legislation is subject to parliamentary scrutiny, it is mostly by negative resolution procedure, so that this scrutiny is rarely rigorous.’


  • 1A word or statement that expresses denial, disagreement, or refusal.

    ‘she replied in the negative’
    • ‘To my great disappointment, his reply was in the negative.’
    • ‘He asked Mr. Sinclair if there was any complaint and Mr. Sinclair responded in the negative.’
    • ‘She was also asked specifically as to whether or not anyone else stayed in the basement with Orville and responded in the negative.’
    • ‘Frightened, the young Ethiopian responded in the negative.’
    • ‘I asked many colleagues and friends if they would employ persons from the minority community and the answers were invariably in the negative.’
    • ‘I nodded at the vague words I captured from her answer as I headed towards the door, only halting when I realised that she had replied in the negative.’
    • ‘I'm tall also, so I look him in the eye and reply in the negative.’
    • ‘Posterity has tended to answer that question in the negative.’
    • ‘He is refused service in an antique store by an old man who answers even obvious questions in the negative.’
    • ‘Asked if he found any involvement of the ‘foreign hand’, he replied in the negative.’
    • ‘The Court answered that question in the negative (with Judge Bauer dissenting).’
    • ‘It provides an answer to this question in the negative.’
    • ‘But it truly saddens me that a few people have indeed asked if I am going to sue and have been more than a touch surprised when I have answered them in the negative.’
    • ‘I would therefore answer the first question posed in the negative.’
    • ‘Citing historical evidence, Marshall answers his own query in the negative.’
    • ‘He was asked if he wanted to receive the Nobel and he replied in the negative which greatly surprised the other people on the show.’
    • ‘In my view the answer to both those questions is in the negative.’
    • ‘The sceptical scribe answered in the negative; Palmer was annoyed at the dismissive response.’
    • ‘My response to your first question is in the negative.’
    • ‘RBC has bitten the bullet, and answered my question in the negative; he thinks he'd still be free, and wouldn't complain.’
    no, refusal, rejection, veto
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually the negative A bad or unwelcome quality or aspect of a situation.
      ‘confidence will not be instilled by harping solely on the negative’
      • ‘To dwell on the negative of the situation was pointless, so I sought to find the good.’
      • ‘Still, the benefit of having such an amazing arsenal definitely outweighs the negatives.’
      • ‘To see and acknowledge the negative in a situation and embrace whatever positive is there - that is the true definition of courage.’
      • ‘If the pessimists are right and it turns out to be a long and costly quagmire then people will remember the negatives and the pendulum will swing back the other way.’
      • ‘The only negative about this particular concert is that the German audience doesn't really know how to respond to this music.’
      • ‘Of course, the heritage of many people contains negatives, particularly when they come from a country riven by war or ethnic and religious hatreds.’
      • ‘So if the chap in Gravesend is so negative, all he will see is the negative in others.’
      • ‘This was much faster than actually holding the joystick and moving it back and forth, but it did have one negative: it really hurt.’
      • ‘So what was intended to benefit workers was in fact a real negative in that situation.’
      • ‘However the introduction of a turnover tax in transactions is a significant negative.’
      • ‘The only negative that people keep mentioning is that the song becomes repetitive towards the end and, as a friend just said, runs out of steam half way through.’
      • ‘The only negative is the erratic quality of the food, although Sunday brunch is invariably excellent.’
    2. 1.2Grammar A word, affix, or phrase expressing negation.
      • ‘Hence the perceived strangeness of They could give a damn, which has no overt negative, but means the same thing as the same phrase with a negative.’
      • ‘Re-reading P G Wodehouse's The Code of the Woosters the other day reminded me of the many words in English which are the negatives of words whose positive forms are now obsolete or rare.’
      • ‘So far then: no to adjectives being crucially involved, but yes to positives being used sarcastically to express negatives rather than the other way around.’
      • ‘A penchant for sentences with multiple negatives is one of the things that make jury instructions notoriously hard to understand.’
      • ‘Other tenses, the various modalities, and of course negatives, would be incompatible with this characterization.’
    3. 1.3Logic
      another term for negation
  • 2A negative photographic image made on film or specially prepared glass, from which positive prints may be made.

    ‘photographs and negatives should be supplied for enlargement purposes’
    • ‘Over the years, 8500 prints and glass plate negatives of the sisters have come to be housed there.’
    • ‘Sugiura often uses the photogram as a paper negative to print a positive, in which the subject becomes a black silhouette.’
    • ‘This is conceivable but unlikely; there are no extant negatives, and contemporary reports stated the plates were destroyed.’
    • ‘The photographer then contact prints negatives onto the platinum paper, which means the negative is put into direct contact with the paper as it is exposed by the enlarger.’
    • ‘In this article, I am primarily concerned with photographic prints rather than negatives.’
    • ‘Any dust on the APHS film during exposure of the enlarged negative will show in the final print as a black spot.’
    • ‘By April 1861, when the American civil war began, photography had advanced with the introduction of glass plate negatives.’
    • ‘The photographers developed the infrared film and made prints from the negatives in their respective darkrooms.’
    • ‘Traditionally, a photomontage is a single print made by superimposing several images enlarged from different negatives.’
    • ‘A week ago we were attacked in my apartment, the attackers went through my darkroom and took the prints and negatives of all my photographic work over the last year but they weren't that good.’
    • ‘So I stayed in yesterday evening and continued to sort through three years of photographic, prints, negatives, and scans.’
    • ‘Colour negatives will often lith print very well and much better than they do with other black and white printing methods.’
    • ‘We collected the negatives from Mr Johnston and they were absolutely genuine.’
    • ‘But in fact, one almost complete set of negatives and several diaries and albums describing his extraordinary life survived.’
    • ‘When dry, the photographer contact prints the negative onto the tissue.’
    • ‘The collection of photographic images extends to 600 glass plate negatives, dating from the Edwardian period through to the 1920s.’
    • ‘They are one-of-a-kind photographs that cannot be easily reproduced (unlike prints from negatives or transparencies).’
    • ‘For the iceberg photos, Steffensen used black-and-white negatives but printed the images with color photographic chemicals.’
    • ‘A vast collection of black and white glass plate negatives and prints dating from the 1920s which were unearthed at a Doncaster sewage works have been donated to the town's museum and art gallery.’
    • ‘Up until this point I have been using Kodak film and having my negatives printed off and enlarging and framing them.’
  • 3A result of a test or experiment indicating that a certain substance or condition is not present or does not exist.

    ‘the percentage of false negatives generated by a cancer test was of great concern’
    • ‘To avoid false negatives, in each FISH experiment the same hybridization mixture, with combined probes, was used in slides made from different species.’
    • ‘However, you have to trade this off against the effects on people who got false negatives if the test were not biased to produce every possible positive.’
    • ‘However, repeat cultures should be obtained to confirm that the earlier culture result was correct and not a false negative.’
    • ‘Most doctors chose to remove all surrounding lymph nodes instead of running the risk of a false negative.’
    • ‘The first problem leads to false positives, whereas the second and third generate false negatives.’
    • ‘I'm sure there are some false negatives there, but if this is mostly about right, this means that at least half of the people who visit our site are now regular readers.’
    • ‘Testing on specimens with rare atypical cells may produce false negatives.’
    • ‘Using the suggested limits of normality may result in an unnecessarily large number of false negatives.’
    • ‘Several compounds added to urine may create false negatives, but laboratories now test for them.’
    • ‘To account for the possibility of false negatives, a test should be done more than 3 months after exposure.’
    • ‘Both assays have an amplification control that will indicate inhibition to prevent reporting false negatives.’
    • ‘False negatives, on the other hand, create a sense of security that is certainly sometimes unwarranted.’
    • ‘Now, I mean, I do not know how the case was presented, but let us assume that there are flesh tests, and you may get false negatives.’
    • ‘With recurrent episodes, when less virus is present, the rate of false negatives goes up to 50%.’
    • ‘No meat will reach the market unless it has tested a clear negative.’
    • ‘I don't think so, because DNA evidence is so accurate that I think that having false negatives is a rarity.’
    • ‘This minimizes false negatives, but, to interpret the search results accurately, one must be willing to review individual entries carefully.’
    • ‘Is the antibody test a false positive or the histological examination a false negative?’
    • ‘This would, according to the present model, reduce a significant amount of false negatives.’
    • ‘These results demonstrate that false negatives are possible with radiological tests for ovarian carcinoma.’
  • 4mass noun The part of an electric circuit that is at a lower electrical potential than another part designated as having zero electrical potential.

    • ‘Welding is done with direct current, electrode negative (straight polarity).’
  • 5A number less than zero.

    • ‘Instead, you reverse the order of the numbers, subtract, and take the negative.’
    • ‘Notice that negatives were allowed and so were decimal fractions.’
    • ‘Of course the problem which arises when one tries to consider zero and negatives as numbers is how they interact in regard to the operations of arithmetic, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.’


[with object]
  • 1Refuse to accept; reject.

    ‘the bill was negatived on second reading by 130 votes to 129’
    • ‘It did not refer in any way to the Crown having to negative a claim of right and it did not identify the facts or knowledge relied upon for saying that the application was dishonest.’
    • ‘After that, the bill was recommitted and my amendment was negatived.’
    • ‘Equally it is clear that the duty to secure mainstream schooling in section 316 has been negatived by the mother's objections.’
    • ‘It was not suggested that the possibility of a fall in the market was unforeseeable or that there was any other factor which negatived the causal connection between lending and losing the money.’
    • ‘It will be seen that the second answer negatives the conclusion of the first, since the Act is concerned with the purpose of the alteration irrespective of whose purpose it is.’
    • ‘Having said that, there seems to be a good deal to be said for John McMullen's argument for a statutory provision to negative the application of frustration.’
    • ‘So when these things happen, one does not say: that was an extraordinary coincidence, which negatived the causal connection between the original act of accumulating the polluting substance and its escape.’
    • ‘In Chiredzi North, the judge said that corrupt practices had not been proved, but the widespread violence and intimidation of the electorate negatived the concept of a free election, and she therefore declared the election void.’
    • ‘Reflecting laissez-faire philosophy, s. 55 of the 1893 Act allowed the implied conditions to be freely negatived or varied by express agreement or by the course of dealing between the parties, or by usage.’
    reject, turn down, say ‘no’ to, refuse, veto, squash
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Prove to be untrue.
      ‘the insurer's main arguments were negatived by Lawrence’
      • ‘Either aspect of mistake, whether it be mistake as contended for, or as referred to by the trial judge here, or as we would contend for, is something which has to be negatived, if raised, of course.’
      • ‘Yes, in the sense that the accused would raise the defence on a balance of probabilities, the Crown would seek to negative that beyond reasonable doubt.’
      • ‘Again it was to prove a fickle promise as Costello negatived it at the other end just five minutes later.’
      • ‘However, the trial judge found that the Crown had negatived the defence of self-defence as he found the complainant both credible and reliable and most importantly he found the incident to have occurred as the complainant had outlined.’
      disprove, prove to be false, show to be false, give the lie to, belie, invalidate, call into question, refute, rebut, discredit, explode
      View synonyms
  • 2Render ineffective; neutralize.

    ‘should criminal law allow consent to negative what would otherwise be a crime?’
    • ‘The existence of damage to the plants at that side of the field thus negatived the Claimant's case as to causation.’
    • ‘Cleland is the personification of more than Kerry's war bona fides; he is the living witness to negative Republican tactics.’
    • ‘However, the real drama was to come with the referee the focus of attention after an Eoin Kelly point was negatived by the Limerick full-back T.J. Ryan.’
    • ‘He acknowledges the GAA's attempt to speed up the game with the free and line-ball from the hand, but feels it has been negatived by stoppages for lectures and cards.’
    • ‘I do not accept the argument that the provisions of cl. 5 negative the existence of a specific charge.’
    • ‘In his view these contractual provisions reinforced rather than negatived the existence of a duty of care by the sub-contractors towards the employers in the circumstances of that case.’
    • ‘On the restart Maynooth's Cummins had the opening score when he slotted over a fine point but this was negatived two minutes later when Tullow midfielder Conor Doyle shot over a glorious point from out on the right wing.’
    • ‘But what part of the constitution negatives a contract?’
    • ‘Where V consents only as a result of D's threats or as a result of fear, this will negative consent.’
    • ‘The question, therefore, is whether, although not expressly negatived, the need for a mental element is negatived by necessary implication.’
    • ‘Derek Mooney and Gavin Smullen converted frees but Dooley negatived one of them at the other end.’
    • ‘It will be found, I think, on examination that there is no case in which the circumstances have been such as I have suggested where the liability has been negatived.’
    • ‘Pat Coady posted Carlow in front with a pointed free after two minutes, a score which Jack O'Shea negatived three minutes later.’
    • ‘It is right to acknowledge, however, that the contractual position as between the parties may also negative the imposition of a duty of care in tort.’
    • ‘The defendant did not have an opportunity to offer evidence at the trial that would have negatived an application of the theory to the circumstances of the case.’
    • ‘It is not negatived by some entirely speculative statistical approach by saying that you did not expect it would happen.’
    • ‘The general rule is thus that consent may negative assault or battery, but not a more serious offence.’
    • ‘In the case at bar, it was the facts proved mainly by the plaintiffs that in my view, negatived a claim based on mistake, and raised an Estoppel.’
    • ‘In considering the question whether there was a reasonable possibility of inspection, it is not open to the claimants to say that they reasonably relied on competent advisers and on that account the duty is not negatived.’
    • ‘It is a dreadful initiative in policy terms, but electorally appears to have been successful in negativing any northern suburb's fears about Labor being soft on crime.’
    cancel out, neutralize, counteract, nullify, negate, render ineffective
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from late Latin negativus, from negare ‘deny’ (see negate).