Definition of negation in US English:



  • 1The contradiction or denial of something.

    ‘there should be confirmation—or negation—of the findings’
    • ‘In Literary Theory and the Claims of History, Satya Mohanty posits a hermeneutics of affirmation in contrast to Jacques Derrida's hermeneutics of negation.’
    • ‘Again this viewpoint is an insulting and dangerous negation of the possibility that critical thinking, serious analysis might be able to lead to a conclusion which, at times, coincides with that of power.’
    • ‘This ostensibly uncomplicated mark, associated with addition as well as cancellation and negation, invokes associations with danger and threat.’
    • ‘Go with the to and fro flow through the rhythms of urbanity, through the too-human rhythms of love and loss, through the rhythms of responsible affirmation or negation.’
    • ‘He stressed he was categorically against the total negation of what had been reached in the last four years.’
    • ‘Of late, signs have been positive and despite a home record which is, by some distance, the worst of any senior club in Scotland, Berwick's sturdy negation of their uninspired opponents took their unbeaten stretch to 10 games.’
    • ‘Apophasis transcends both affirmation and negation, refuting in both any possible attainment of understanding beyond the limitation of conceptual analysis.’
    • ‘That unformulated coherence is what happens when we move from negation to negativity.’
    • ‘This cruelty is the side-effect of pure negation.’
    • ‘For every advance in open and democratic publishing, we must expect a response, a counter-manoeuvre and attempts at subversion and negation.’
    • ‘I have long thought that Levine's negations and denials were in fact forms of affirmation and acceptance, ways of warding off sentimentality and bad faith.’
    • ‘Thus, his restatement is paragraph two of the story, not the story's negation.’
    • ‘Though he loved Levi-Strauss and Saussure, he showed how their relatively rigid theories of culture and language respectively contained the seeds of their own negation.’
    • ‘It can be identified only by its negation of modernism; as its architecture exemplifies perceptually, it has no form of its own.’
    • ‘Violence, by definition, signals the loss, lapse and negation of a spiritual way of being.’
    • ‘In this sense unproductive labor occupies the position of an other, a category of labor in difference that can be known primarily by its negative content, which is to say its precise negation of all that defines productive labor.’
    • ‘Manne's central thesis appears to be that Howard has but one social and cultural policy: a policy of negation.’
    • ‘Any country that believes itself compelled to defend against coercive threat with a strategy of negation would almost certainly focus on space assets as the most promising target.’
    • ‘As a consequence, it is the guarantor of human dignity and freedom, especially in the gas chambers and gulags which are the total negation of both.’
    • ‘What has become an endangered species is a still further type of negation, metaphysical negation, in which the no turns out to be a yes: no to appearances, yes to something so exalted it's indescribable.’
    denial, contradiction, repudiation, disproving, refutation, refuting, rebuttal, countering, disclaiming
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    1. 1.1Grammar Denial of the truth of a clause or sentence, typically involving the use of a negative word (e.g. not, no, never) or a word or affix with negative force (e.g. nothing, non-).
      • ‘In my topics in the semantics of questions course, we were discussing negation in questions, and - I can't remember the reference now - someone's theory of their being sort of metalinguistic.’
      • ‘At this point, the intensifier is not longer a free agent, but has become a sort of contractual associate of the negation.’
      • ‘What about sentences containing operators like negation and conjunction?’
      • ‘This is dedicated to friends of double negatives and to those who have wondered what the word pas, ‘step,’ has to do with negation in French’
      • ‘The implicit negation in words like fail and ignore may be especially difficult to untangle.’
    2. 1.2Logic A proposition whose assertion specifically denies the truth of another proposition.
      ‘the negation of A is, briefly, “not A.”’
      • ‘For each truth-value assignment, construct a conjunction made up of those letters the truth-value assignment makes true, along with the negations of those letters the truth-value assignment makes false.’
      • ‘E propositions, or universal negations take the form: No S are P.’
      • ‘The truth conditions for negation are: A is true iff A is not true.’
      • ‘An antinomy is the peculiar fallacy which enables us to derive both a proposition and its negation from the same premiss.’
      • ‘And with negations of conditionals and conditionals in antecedents, we saw, the problem is reversed: we assert conditionals which we would not believe if we construed them truth-functionally.’
    3. 1.3Mathematics Inversion.
      ‘these formulae and their negations’
      • ‘Hume notes that we cannot imagine or conceive of the negations of typical mathematical theorems, but this seems to be a weak hold on the necessity of mathematics.’
  • 2The absence or opposite of something actual or positive.

    ‘evil is not merely the negation of goodness’
    • ‘A mosque is intended as a void: all paths lead to emptiness, reality is affirmed through its negation.’
    • ‘The contradictions and negations of life cannot be sublated into a determinate negation because life is not a positive, given fact but is the product of human labor.’
    • ‘It is the opposite or negation of the first stage, and hence is known as the antithesis.’
    • ‘To different degrees (as illustrated in the inferential results below) MPs tend to stand for positive usage of a value and oppose the negation of these values.’
    • ‘They allowed themselves to be used by those who wanted to escalate the images of opposition into an all-or-nothing confrontation that is the opposite of democracy and the negation of politics: a symbolism of despair masquerading as hope.’
    • ‘It was not the literature of negation that was proposed, but the negation of literature.’
    • ‘There was first the bipolar world order, followed by its negation and the emergence of a unipolar world order.’
    • ‘It is merely the negation of something else, and therefore an empty formal category.’
    • ‘There is always going to be a fear of death - as it is the absolute negation of life.’
    • ‘What she wants or does not want is subsumed in absolute indifference and the great overarching project of finding the perfect negation of ego.’
    opposite, reverse, antithesis, contrary, inverse, converse
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Late Middle English: from Latin negatio(n-), from the verb negare ‘deny’ (see negate).