from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Characterized by or displaying certainty, acceptance, or affirmation: a positive answer; positive criticism.
  • adj. Measured or moving forward or in a direction of increase or progress.
  • adj. Explicitly or openly expressed or laid down: a positive demand.
  • adj. Admitting of no doubt; irrefutable: positive proof.
  • adj. Very sure; confident: I'm positive he's right. See Synonyms at sure.
  • adj. Overconfident; dogmatic.
  • adj. Formally or arbitrarily determined; prescribed.
  • adj. Concerned with practical rather than theoretical matters.
  • adj. Composed of or characterized by the presence of particular qualities or attributes; real.
  • adj. Philosophy Of or relating to positivism.
  • adj. Philosophy Of or relating to laws imposed by human authority rather than by nature or reason alone: "the glaring discrepancy between American positive law and natural rights” ( David Brion Davis).
  • adj. Philosophy Of or relating to religion based on revelation rather than on nature or reason alone.
  • adj. Informal Utter; absolute: a positive darling.
  • adj. Mathematics Relating to or designating a quantity greater than zero.
  • adj. Mathematics Relating to or designating the sign (+).
  • adj. Mathematics Relating to or designating a quantity, number, angle, or direction opposite to another designated as negative.
  • adj. Physics Relating to or designating an electric charge of a sign opposite to that of an electron.
  • adj. Medicine Indicating the presence of a particular disease, condition, or organism: a positive test for pregnancy.
  • adj. Biology Indicating or characterized by response or motion toward the source of a stimulus, such as light: positive tropism.
  • adj. Having the areas of light and dark in their original and normal relationship, as in a photographic print made from a negative.
  • adj. Grammar Of, relating to, or being the simple uncompared degree of an adjective or adverb, as opposed to either the comparative or superlative.
  • adj. Driven by or generating power directly through intermediate machine parts having little or no play: positive drive.
  • n. An affirmative element or characteristic.
  • n. Mathematics A quantity greater than zero.
  • n. Physics A positive electric charge.
  • n. A photographic image in which the lights and darks appear as they do in nature.
  • n. Grammar The uncompared degree of an adjective or adverb.
  • n. Grammar A word in this degree.
  • n. Music A division of some pipe organs, similar in sound to the great but smaller and less powerful.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Characterized by constructiveness or influence for the better.
  • adj. Overconfident, dogmatic.
  • adj. Actual, real, concrete, not theoretical or speculative.
  • adj. Having more protons than electrons.
  • adj. Describing the primary sense of an adjective or adverb; not comparative or superlative.
  • adj. Derived from an object by itself; not dependent on changing circumstances or relations; absolute.
  • adj. Characterized by the existence or presence of distinguishing qualities or features, rather than by their absence.
  • adj. Characterized by the presence of features which support a hypothesis.
  • adj. Of a visual image, true to the original in light, shade and colour values.
  • adj. Favorable, desirable by those interested or invested in that which is being judged.
  • adj. Wholly what is expressed; colloquially downright, entire, outright.
  • adj. HIV positive.
  • adj. Good, desirable, healthful, pleasant, enjoyable; (often precedes 'energy', 'thought', 'feeling' or 'emotion').
  • n. A thing capable of being affirmed; something real or actual.
  • n. A favourable point or characteristic.
  • n. Something having a positive value in physics, such as an electric charge.
  • n. An adjective or adverb in the positive degree.
  • n. A positive image; one that displays true colors and shades, as opposed to a negative.
  • n. The positive plate of a voltaic or electrolytic cell.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having a real position, existence, or energy; existing in fact; real; actual; -- opposed to negative.
  • adj. Derived from an object by itself; not dependent on changing circumstances or relations; absolute; -- opposed to relative.
  • adj. Definitely laid down; explicitly stated; clearly expressed; -- opposed to implied.
  • adj. Hence: Not admitting of any doubt, condition, qualification, or discretion; not dependent on circumstances or probabilities; not speculative; compelling assent or obedience; peremptory; indisputable; decisive
  • adj. Prescribed by express enactment or institution; settled by arbitrary appointment; said of laws.
  • adj. Fully assured; confident; certain; sometimes, overconfident; dogmatic; overbearing; -- said of persons.
  • adj. Having the power of direct action or influence.
  • adj. Corresponding with the original in respect to the position of lights and shades, instead of having the lights and shades reversed.
  • adj.
  • adj. Electro-positive.
  • adj. Hence, basic; metallic; not acid; -- opposed to negative, and said of metals, bases, and basic radicals.
  • adj.
  • adj. Designating, or pertaining to, a motion or device in which the movement derived from a driver, or the grip or hold of a restraining piece, is communicated through an unyielding intermediate piece or pieces.
  • adj. Designating, or pertaining to, a device giving a to-and-fro motion.
  • adj. Designating a method of steering or turning in which the steering wheels move so that they describe concentric arcs in making a turn, to insure freedom from side slip or harmful resistance.
  • n. That which is capable of being affirmed; reality.
  • n. That which settles by absolute appointment.
  • n. The positive degree or form.
  • n. A picture in which the lights and shades correspond in position with those of the original, instead of being reversed, as in a negative.
  • n. The positive plate of a voltaic or electrolytic cell.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Laid down as a proposition; affirmed; stated; express: as, a positive declaration.
  • Of an affirmative nature; possessing definite characters of its own; of a kind to excite sensation or be otherwise directly experienced; not negative. Thus, light is positive, darkness negative; man is positive, nonman negative.
  • Arbitrarily laid down; determined by declaration, enactment, or convention, and not by nature: opposed to natural.
  • Imperative; laid down as a command to be followed without question or discretion: as, positive orders.
  • Unquestionable; indubitable; certain; hence, experiential.
  • Confident; fully assured.
  • Over-confident in opinion and assertion; dogmatic.
  • Actually or really officiating or discharging the duties of an office.
  • Not reversed.
  • Not comparative.
  • n. That which settles by absolute appointment.
  • n. That which is capable of being affirmed; reality.
  • n. In grammar, the positive degree.
  • n. In photography, a picture in which the lights and shades are rendered as they are in nature: opposed to negative. Positives are usually obtained by printing from negatives. See negative and photography.
  • n. Same as positive organ.
  • Specifically, noting an oiling or lubricating device in which the oil is made to flow by pressure, due either to gravity or to pumping.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having a positive charge
  • n. a film showing a photographic image whose tones correspond to those of the original subject
  • adj. persuaded of; very sure
  • adj. reckoned, situated or tending in the direction which naturally or arbitrarily is taken to indicate increase or progress or onward motion
  • adj. marked by excessive confidence
  • adj. formally laid down or imposed
  • adj. involving advantage or good
  • n. the primary form of an adjective or adverb; denotes a quality without qualification, comparison, or relation to increase or diminution
  • adj. indicating existence or presence of a suspected condition or pathogen
  • adj. impossible to deny or disprove
  • adj. characterized by or displaying affirmation or acceptance or certainty etc.
  • adj. greater than zero
  • adj. of or relating to positivism


Middle English, having a specified quality, from Old French positif, from Latin positīvus, formally laid down, from positus, past participle of pōnere, to place; see apo- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old (and modern) French positif, or Latin positivus, from the past participle stem of ponere ("to place"). Compare posit. (Wiktionary)


  • A smart publisher IMO is one that knows that any talk about a book is a positive thing, and that an honest review site is a site from which an honest *positive* review is worth having, too.

    Excuse Our (my) Mess

  • This Greenian, autonomy-based, conception of positive freedom is often run together with a very different notion of ˜positive™ freedom: freedom as effective power to act or to pursue one's ends.


  • And the magnetism of the whole circuit between the positive and the negative posts is in its _least_ volume next to the _positive post_, and in

    A Newly Discovered System of Electrical Medication

  • So it is still true that on the negative half of the circuit, the _negative_ qualities _diminish_ as we advance towards the central point just as on the positive half, the _positive_ qualities diminish regularly towards the central point, as stated above.

    A Newly Discovered System of Electrical Medication

  • And if this whole magnet be more and more positive, by regular degrees through all the sections, from its negative to its positive end or pole, then the nearer any given part of it, say the _second section_ -- the patient's person, may be to its positive pole in the negative post, so much the more _positive_ that section or part will be.

    A Newly Discovered System of Electrical Medication

  • The question is whether there are any positive attributes which may be applied to God as actually denoting his essence -- hence _positive essential_ attributes.

    A History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy

  • The responses now undergo a change from positive to _less positive_; fatigue, that is to say, appears.

    Response in the Living and Non-Living

  • Under continued stimulation, they increase in the same direction as in the last case, that is to say, from less positive to _more positive_, being the reverse of fatigue.

    Response in the Living and Non-Living

  • But the hypothesis that history _might_ contain facts which it does _not_ contain, is no positive evidence for the truth of those facts; and this is the present question; what is the _positive_ evidence that the Church ever believed or taught a Gospel substantially different from that which her extant documents contain?

    Historical Sketches, Volume I (of 3) The Turks in Their Relation to Europe; Marcus Tullius Cicero; Apollonius of Tyana; Primitive Christianity

  • _negative pole_ of this magnet is the _wire end of the cord_ placed in the positive post, and its _positive_ pole in the _positive electrode_ placed upon the person of the patient.

    A Newly Discovered System of Electrical Medication


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