Definition of affirmative in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈfərmədiv/


1Agreeing with a statement or to a request: an affirmative answer
More example sentences
  • The very fact that the statement is qualified implies or at least suggests an affirmative answer.
  • Nods and affirmative statements came from everyone in the room.
  • Then you will have to get an affirmative answer.
1.1(Of a vote) expressing approval or agreement.
Example sentences
  • Approval would require an affirmative vote of both 90 percent or more of the total property value affected and 75 percent or more of the individual unit owners.
  • The government is now accepting this committee's proposal that before any direction to a dissenting regulatory authority can be issued approval must be obtained by an affirmative vote of agreement in both houses of parliament.
  • It should be obvious why like-minded voters would want to express their support for his ideas, to cast an affirmative vote for once instead of settling for the lesser of two evils.
positive, assenting, consenting, corroborative, favorable
1.2Supportive, hopeful, or encouraging: the music’s natural buoyancy and affirmative character
More example sentences
  • Such rights are minimalist: they protect people against being treated in certain ways, but they do not, except in extremis, entitle them to the affirmative support of others.
  • I also agree that a public sphere is important to democracy and requires nurturing, not only by opposing forms of censorship but by supporting affirmative policies that help establish a public forum.
  • If a candidate can't connect with the voters, can't give them an affirmative reason to support him, as opposed to the other candidates, that's his problem.
1.3Active or obligatory: they have an affirmative duty to stop crime in their buildings using affirmative measures to influence human rights policies
More example sentences
  • The paper collects a huge database of cases involving claims of an affirmative duty to disclose and examines the various variables that have been argued by theorists that explain these cases.
  • And there is a substantial doubt whether the agency was taking the kind of affirmative measures to conceal her identity that the act talks about.
  • True to his progressive values, he argued that government had an affirmative duty to seek out new approaches to the problems that confront society.
1.4 Grammar & Logic Stating that a fact is so; making an assertion. Contrasted with interrogative and negative.
Example sentences
  • As we saw earlier, the logical empiricists held that the answer to this question is affirmative, and the logician largely agreed with them about this.
  • In general then, the relation of subject to predicate in a true affirmative judgment is the relation of what is at least relatively indeterminate to what at least partially determines it.
  • In arguments of this form, all three propositions (the two premisses and the conclusion) are universal, affirmative, and assertoric.


1A statement of agreement with an assertion or request: he accepted her reply as an affirmative
More example sentences
  • Around Christmas 1990, it was hard to find many senior figures in the capital who would reply to both those questions with a confident affirmative.
  • To the question of whether he would take tea or coffee his reply was a simple affirmative.
  • He answered his own question with an emphatic affirmative.
1.1 (the affirmative) A position of agreement or confirmation: his answer veered toward the affirmative
More example sentences
  • This resolution might, on the surface, seem to lean towards the affirmative, but there are several advantages to both sides.
  • It's a tricky problem, but I think I incline towards the affirmative.
  • And I'm undecided as to whether golf is really a sport, but I'd tend towards the affirmative.
agreement, acceptance, assent, acquiescence, concurrence;
OK, yes, thumbs-up
1.2 Grammar A word or particle used in making assertions.
Example sentences
  • In these cases, the complex content of the clause, either affirmative or negative, is symbolized by a single, unanalysable morpheme.
  • In addition, the ironic echo also displays a syntactic shift by changing the first clause to a negative and the second to an affirmative.
  • Finally, in the original table there were only three cells in the relative clause affirmative realized with default lexical tone.
1.3 Logic A statement asserting that something is true of the subject of a proposition.
Example sentences
  • A propositions, or universal affirmatives take the form: All S are P.
  • Not everything demonstrable can be known by finding definitions, since all definitions are universal and affirmative whereas some demonstrable propositions are negative.
  • Every simple proposition is either affirmative or negative.


chiefly North American
Expressing agreement with a statement or request; yes.
Example sentences
  • ‘Affirmative, sir,’ responded the ship’s tactical officer.
  • "Affirmative sir. I also have every soldier, lab tech and civilian in our charge watching a screen somewhere."
  • "Affirmative, sir!" Marcus replied. He quickly got dressed, and donned his armor.


in the affirmative

So as to accept or agree to a statement or request: he answered the question in the affirmative
More example sentences
  • I agree that that question must be answered in the affirmative; and that, accordingly, this appeal should be allowed.
  • Unable to offer a contrary view, this so-called investigation seems to answer these questions in the affirmative.
  • I am not especially optimistic about answering that question in the affirmative.



Pronunciation: /əˈfərmədivlē/
Example sentences
  • The collective number of votes of all countries that affirmatively supported the legislative proposal on May 18th amounts to 216, falling short of the required 232.
  • You are really sending a powerful and profound message that says I am affirmatively withdrawing my consent from this corporate takeover of my government.
  • When you are dealing with a band you have to often state your case and represent yourself affirmatively, but without telling everyone else what to do.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'assertive, positive'): via Old French from late Latin affirmativus, from affirmare 'assert' (see affirm).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: af·firm·a·tive

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