AskDefine | Define positive

Dictionary Definition

positive adj
1 characterized by or displaying affirmation or acceptance or certainty etc.; "a positive attitude"; "the reviews were all positive"; "a positive benefit"; "a positive demand" [ant: negative, neutral]
2 having a positive electric charge; "protons are positive" [syn: electropositive] [ant: negative, neutral]
3 involving advantage or good; "a plus (or positive) factor" [syn: plus]
4 indicating existence or presence of a suspected condition or pathogen; "a positive pregnancy test" [syn: confirming] [ant: negative]
5 formally laid down or imposed; "positive laws" [syn: prescribed]
6 impossible to deny or disprove; "incontrovertible proof of the defendant's innocence"; "proof positive"; "an irrefutable argument" [syn: incontrovertible, irrefutable]
7 of or relating to positivism; "positivist thinkers"; "positivist doctrine"; "positive philosophy" [syn: positivist, positivistic]
8 greater than zero; "positive numbers"
9 marked by excessive confidence; "an arrogant and cocksure materialist"; "so overconfident and impudent as to speak to the queen"; "the less he knows the more positive he gets" [syn: cocksure, overconfident]
10 persuaded of; very sure; "were convinced that it would be to their advantage to join"; "I am positive he is lying"; "was confident he would win" [syn: convinced(p), positive(p), confident(p)]
11 granting what has been desired or requested; "a favorable reply"; "a positive answer" [syn: favorable] n : a film showing a photographic image whose tones correspond to those of the original subject

User Contributed Dictionary



From Old (and modern) positif, or positivus, from the past participle stem of ponere ‘to place’. Compare posit.


  • /ˈpɒzɪtɪv/
Hyphenation: po·si·tive


  1. Definitively laid down; explicitly stated; clearly expressed, precise, emphatic.
    • Bacon:
      Positive words, that he would not bear arms against King Edward’s son.
  2. Fully assured, confident; certain.
    I’m absolutely positive you've spelt that wrong.
  3. Overconfident, dogmatic.
    • Pope:
      Some positive, persisting fops we know, That, if once wrong, will needs be always so.
  4. Describing the primary sense of an adjective or adverb; not comparative or superlative.
    ‘Better’ is an irregular comparative of the positive form ‘good’.
  5. Derived from an object by itself; not dependent on changing circumstances or relations; absolute.
    The idea of beauty is not positive, but depends on the different tastes of individuals.
  6. Wholly what is expressed; colloquially downright, entire, outright.
    Good lord, you've built up a positive arsenal of weaponry here.
  7. Characterised by the existence or presence of qualities or features, rather than by their absence.
    The box was not empty – I felt some positive substance within it.
  8. Characterised by the presence of features which support a hypothesis.
    The results of our experiment are positive.
  9. Characterised by affirmation, constructiveness, or influence for the better; favourable.
    He has a positive outlook on life.
    The first-night reviews were largely positive.
    • Swift:
      a positive voice in legislation.
  10. In the context of "chiefly|philosophy": Actual, real, concrete.
    • Bacon:
      Positive good.
  11. Of a visual image, true to the original in light, shade and colour values.
    A positive photograph can be developed from a photographic negative.
  12. Having more protons than electrons.
    A cation is a positive ion as it has more protons than electrons.
  13. Of number, greater than zero.
  14. HIV positive.



definitely laid down
  • Arabic:
  • Chinese: 确定的 (quèdìng de)
  • Dutch: positief
  • Finnish: varma
  • French: positif
  • German: positiv
  • Hungarian: biztos
  • Italian: positivo
  • Japanese: 明確な (めいかくな, meikakuna)
  • Korean: 확실한 (hwaksilhan)
  • Portuguese: positivo
  • Russian: положительный (položítel’nyj)
  • Spanish: positivo
  • Swedish: positiv
fully assured, confident
  • Finnish: varma
overconfident, dogmatic
  • Finnish: varma
grammar: describing the primary sense of an adjective or adverb
  • Finnish: perusasteinen, perusmuotoinen
derived from an object by itself; absolute
  • Finnish: absoluuttinen
downright, entire, outright
  • Finnish: todellinen, varsinainen, kokonainen
characterised by the existence of qualities or features
  • Finnish: todellinen
characterised by features which support a hypothesis
  • Finnish: positiivinen
characterised by affirmation and constructiveness
  • Finnish: myönteinen, positiivinen
philosophy: actual, real, concrete
  • Finnish: positiivinen
photography: of a visual image true to the original
  • Finnish: positiivinen
mathematics: greater than zero
  • Czech: kladný
physics: having more protons than electrons
  • Czech: kladný
  • Finnish: positiivinen
slang: HIV positive
  • Finnish: positiivinen


  1. A thing capable of being affirmed; something real or actual.
  2. A favourable point or characteristic.
  3. Something having a positive value in physics, such as an electric charge.
  4. An adjective or adverb in the positive degree.
  5. In the context of "photography": A positive image; one that displays true colors and shades, as opposed to a negative.

Derived terms


thing capable of being affirmed
  • Finnish: tosiasia
favourable point or characteristic
thing having a positive value
adjective or adverb in the positive degree
  • Finnish: positiivi, perusaste
photography: a positive image
  • Finnish: positiivi



  1. feminine of positif



positive p
  1. feminine of positivo

Extensive Definition

Positive is a property of positivity and may refer to:

Mathematics and science

Philosophy and humanities

  • Positive science, for a general usage in humanities and social sciences
  • Positivism, in philosophy, the name for theories which aim to be based on facts alone, eschewing metaphysics and religion
  • Positive freedom, the opportunity and ability to act to fulfill one's own potential
  • Negative and positive rights, concerning the moral obligation of a person to do something for/to someone
  • Positive statement, in economics, a (possibly incorrect) factual statement
  • Positive economics, in economics, about predictions of behavior of economic actors, as opposed to the normative aspect
  • Affirmative, in linguistics, is a non-negated expression, as opposed to negative. See grammatical polarity
  • Positive (linguistics), the form of an adjective or adverb on which comparative and superlative are formed with suffixes or the use of more or less
  • Affirmative (policy debate), the team which affirms the resolution
  • Positive law is man-made law (statutes) in contrast with natural law (derived from God or morality)
  • A positive image, in photography, is one in which the value (lightness–darkness) correlates positively with that in the scene depicted
  • Positive (film), a short film in Hindi on HIV and AIDS

Other uses

  • Positive sign, in western astrology, the supposedly extroverted personalities of the fire and air signs

See also

positive in German: Positiv
positive in French: Positif
positive in Dutch: Positief
positive in Portuguese: Positivo
positive in Vietnamese: Dương
positive in Chinese: 陽

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Ditto copy, Photostat, Xerox, Xerox copy, absolute, accented, accentuated, accordant, actual, admitting no exception, affirmative, affirmatory, agreeable, agreeing, aidful, algorismic, algorithmic, aliquot, all-out, answerable, apodictic, arbitrary, arrant, arrogant, assertative, assertional, assertive, assured, at one, auspicious, authentic, believing, beneficial, bigoted, blind, blowup, blueprint, bound, cardinal, categorical, certain, cheerful, classical, clear, clear and distinct, clear as day, clear-cut, cocksure, coexistent, coexisting, coherent, coincident, coinciding, commensurate, compatible, complete, complimentary, conceited, conclusive, concordant, concurring, conducive, confident, confirming, conformable, congenial, congruent, congruous, consentaneous, consentient, consistent, consonant, constructive, consummate, contact print, contact printing, contributory, convinced, convincing, cooperating, cooperative, correspondent, corresponding, crass, cyanotype, de facto, deaf, decided, decimal, decisive, declarative, declaratory, definite, definitive, despotic, determinate, determined, devout, dictatorial, differential, digital, doctrinaire, doctrinarian, dogmatic, dogmatizing, doubtless, downright, egregious, emphasized, emphatic, en rapport, encouraging, energetic, enlargement, enthusiastic, entire, equivalent, even, explicit, exponential, express, factual, faithful, favorable, fideistic, figural, figurate, figurative, final, finite, firm, fixed, flagrant, flat, flat-out, for real, forceful, forcible, fractional, functional, furthersome, genuine, glaring, global, glossy, good for, gross, hard, hard-nosed, harmonious, hectograph copy, helpful, historical, hologram, honest-to-God, hubristic, imaginary, impair, imperious, implicit, impossible, impress, impressed with, impression, in accord, in agreement, in rapport, in red letters, in sync, in synchronization, inaccordance, inappealable, incontestable, incontrovertible, indisputable, indubitable, ineluctable, inevitable, infinite, inharmony, integral, intolerable, irrational, irrefutable, italicized, lantern slide, like-minded, logarithmic, logometric, matte, matter-of-fact, microcopy, microprint, mimeograph copy, minus, necessary, negative, numeral, numerary, numerative, numeric, obdurate, obstinate, odd, of a piece, of like mind, of one mind, offprint, on all fours, opinionated, opinionative, opinioned, optimistic, oracular, ordinal, out-and-out, outright, overconfident, oversure, overweening, pair, peremptory, perfect, perfectly sure, persuaded, persuasive, photocopy, photograph, photogravure, photostatic copy, pietistic, pigheaded, pious, pistic, plus, pointed, poised, pompous, pontifical, positivistic, possible, practical, pragmatical, precious, predestined, predetermined, predicational, predicative, prime, print, productive, profitable, profound, projection printing, promising, pronounced, pronunciative, proof, proper, propitious, proportionate, proud, punctuated, radical, rank, rational, real, realistic, reasonable, reassured, reassuring, reciprocal, reconcilable, regular, reliable, remedial, reprint, round, salutary, satisfied, secure, self-assured, self-confident, self-consistent, self-important, self-opinionated, self-opinioned, self-reliant, semi-matte, serviceable, shattering, sheer, shocking, slide, sold on, sound, specific, stark, stark-staring, starred, stat, straight, straight-out, stressed, stubborn, submultiple, substantial, superlative, supportive, surd, sure, sure-enough, surpassing, symbiotic, synchronized, synchronous, the veriest, therapeutic, thorough, thoroughgoing, total, transcendental, transparency, true, unafraid, unambiguous, unanimous, unbearable, uncircumscribed, unconditional, unconditioned, unconscionable, uncontestable, uncontested, undeniable, under the impression, underlined, underscored, undoubtful, undoubting, unequivocal, unfaltering, unhampered, unhesitating, uniform, unisonant, unisonous, univocal, unlimited, unmistakable, unmitigated, unpersuadable, unqualified, unquestionable, unquestioned, unquestioning, unrelieved, unreserved, unrestricted, unspoiled, unwaivable, unwavering, upbeat, useful, utilitarian, utter, veritable, whole, without exception, without reserve, yes
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