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Positive is a property of positivity and may refer to:

Mathematics and science

Philosophy and humanities

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

In popular culture

Other uses

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

See also



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




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


Hyphenation: po‧si‧tive


positive (comparative more positive, superlative most positive)


more positive

most positive

  1. Definitively laid down; explicitly stated; clearly expressed, precise, emphatic.
    • Francis 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.
    • Alexander Pope:
      Some positive, persisting fops we know, That, if once wrong, will needs be always so.
  4. (grammar) 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. Characterized 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. Characterized by the presence of features which support a hypothesis.
    The results of our experiment are positive.
  9. Characterized by affirmation, constructiveness, or influence for the better; favourable.
    He has a positive outlook on life.
    The first-night reviews were largely positive.
  10. (chiefly philosophy) Actual, real, concrete.
  11. (photography) 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. (physics) Having more protons than electrons.
    A cation is a positive ion as it has more protons than electrons.
  13. (mathematics) Of number, greater than zero.
  14. (slang) HIV positive.


Derived terms





positive (plural positives)

  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. (grammar) An adjective or adverb in the positive degree.
  5. (photography) A positive image; one that displays true colors and shades, as opposed to a negative.

Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.




  1. Feminine form of positif.



positive pl.

  1. Feminine form of positivo.


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