Definition of positive in English:


Line breaks: posi|tive
Pronunciation: /ˈpɒzɪtɪv


  • 1Consisting in or characterized by the presence rather than the absence of distinguishing features.
    More example sentences
    • Mitomycin C and cyclophosphamide were used as positive controls in the absence and presence of S9, respectively.
    • Sadly, there may be many cases where we have to make do with the lesser of two evils rather than a positive good, but there is always a choice.
    • Now the dominant trend in radio is to avoid giving listeners a reason to turn off, rather than offering a positive reason to turn on in the first place.
  • 1.1Expressing or implying affirmation, agreement, or permission: the company received a positive response from investors
    More example sentences
    • Of course, there were a number of positive responses, from quiet appeals for calm to supportive speeches in the House of Commons.
    • She said the allocation of R500m was a positive affirmation of the role teachers played in the community.
    • Maybe I need some of that positive affirmation, brothers and sisters.
  • 1.2(Of the results of a test or experiment) indicating that a certain substance or condition is present or exists: a player had tested positive for cocaine use
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    • Should the test have a positive result, indicating that a condition has been detected, the parents will need counselling and support.
    • The experiment has shown positive results, and presently, the infants are living normally.
    • Incorrect responses on either or both tasks are scored as a positive result, indicating dementia.
    showing a reaction, affirmative
  • 1.3 [in combination] (Of a person or their blood) having a specified substance or condition: HIV-positive
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    • At her next pregnancy the mother will then pass those antibodies against Rh-positive blood to the fetus.
    • In HPV-positive women, not knowing what their results meant was associated with extremely high levels of anxiety.
    • An HIV-positive patient is determined to have progressed to full-blown AIDS when they develop any one of a number of symptoms, diseases or viruses.
  • 4(Of a quantity) greater than zero.
    More example sentences
    • He defines limits of positive variable quantities using ideas that he had used in looking at limits of series.
    • Zero divided by negative or positive numbers is either zero or is expressed as a fraction with zero as numerator and the finite quantity as denominator.
    • He also worked on number theory proving in 1770 that every positive integer is the sum of four squares.
  • 5Containing, producing, or denoting an electric charge opposite to that carried by electrons: each battery has a positive and negative terminal
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    • These minerals in their ion state carry either negative or positive charges, much like a car battery.
    • At least one of the positive and negative high voltage power supplies switches between a high state and a low state.
    • Predicted by quantum theory, ghost radiation is a negative energy field that dampens normal positive energy.
  • 6(Of a photographic image) showing lights and shades or colours true to the original.
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    • This kind of photograph is a unique positive picture produced on a thin sheet of iron blackened by tar.
    • To his great surprise, when Pia examined his negatives, there was a positive image!
    • In fact, there are two copies of that issue in the bound volumes - one cover features a positive shot, the other a negative one.
  • 7 Grammar Denoting the primary degree of an adjective or adverb, which expresses simple quality without qualification. Contrasted with comparative and superlative.
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    • We were studying positive, comparative and superlative adjectives and, as usual, having a pretty hard time with it.
  • 8chiefly Philosophy Dealing only with matters of fact and experience; not speculative or theoretical. Compare with positivism ( sense 1).
    More example sentences
    • In other words, it attempts to form a positive conception of noumena.
    • There is, furthermore, the second, positive Nietzschean understanding of a necessary distance between the sexes.
    • This revolt, joined to an ascetic and sterile devotion to positive fact, would ultimately slay even God.
  • 9 Astrology Relating to or denoting any of the air or fire signs, considered active in nature.


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  • 1A desirable or constructive quality or attribute: take your weaknesses and translate them into positives to manage your way out of recession, accentuate the positive
    More example sentences
    • The mid - term evaluation asked students, in an open-ended format, to relate the positives and negatives of each course they are taking that semester.
    • Now we are seeking to further accentuate the positive.
    • Central to the administration's strategy is to pivot the spotlight to the positive.
  • 2A positive photographic image, especially one printed from a negative: the photographic process involves separate runs with the red, green, and blue separation positives
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    • In this process I first make a contact interpositive and then an enlarged negative from the contact positive.
    • It has a built-in transparency adapter, so it can scan 35 mm photo negatives and positives (slides).
    • The first test is to determine the correct exposure for a film positive.
  • 3A result of a test or experiment indicating that a certain substance or condition is present or exists: let us look at the distribution of those positives
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    • About 1.5x10 plaques were screened and five positives were detected, indicating that the clone was present at 0.003% of the total library.
    • The total of 72 positives out of 2,868 tests conducted on Scottish Division soldiers was the highest proportion of failures of any unit in the army.
    • Treatment would then be offered if tests are positives.
  • 4 [mass noun] The part of an electric circuit that is at a higher electrical potential than another point designated as having zero electrical potential: try linking the signal input directly to positive
  • 6 Grammar An adjective or adverb in the positive degree.



More example sentences
  • She says: ‘I believe that the positiveness expected by the citizens of Kenya is not only going to come from the government side, but from themselves, Kenyans, who want to see great changes.’
  • They bring back experiences that they might otherwise have never been exposed to, and they bring back positiveness.
  • Davis posted seven the nine and five from frees, showing more than a noticeable lack of positiveness by his colleagues who were happy to find his reliable clutches rather than shoulder responsibility.


Pronunciation: /pɒzɪˈtɪvɪti/
More example sentences
  • Where do they get such inner strength and sense of positivity?
  • For all his talk about the power of positivity, I confess I'm cynical about whether things will get better in our lifetime.
  • It's difficult not to be infected by Chao's positivity and energy.


late Middle English: from Old French positif, -ive or Latin positivus, from posit- 'placed', from the verb ponere. The original sense referred to laws as being formally 'laid down', which gave rise to the sense 'explicitly laid down and admitting no question', hence 'certain'.

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Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody