<adjective>

1. A proposition by which something is denied or forbidden; a conception or term formed by prefixing the negative particle to one which is positive; an opposite or contradictory term or conception.

2. A word used in denial or refusal; as, not, no.

In Old England two or more negatives were often joined together for the sake of emphasis, whereas now such expressions are considered ungrammatical, being chiefly heard in iliterate speech. A double negative is now sometimes used as nearly or quite equivalent to an affirmative.

3. The refusal or withholding of assents; veto.

4. That side of a question which denies or refuses, or which is taken by an opposing or denying party; the relation or position of denial or opposition; as, the question was decided in the negative.

5. <photography> A picture upon glass or other material, in which the light portions of the original are represented in some opaque material (usually reduced silver), and the dark portions by the uncovered and transparent or semitransparent ground of the picture.

A negative is chiefly used for producing photographs by means of passing light through it and acting upon sensitized paper, thus producing on the paper a positive picture.

6. <electronics> The negative plate of a voltaic or electrolytic cell.

(05 Feb 2009)