1. Characterized by or displaying certainty, acceptance, or affirmation: a positive answer; positive criticism.
2. Measured or moving forward or in a direction of increase or progress.
3. Explicitly or openly expressed or laid down: a positive demand.
4. Admitting of no doubt; irrefutable: positive proof.
a. Very sure; confident: I'm positive he's right. See Synonyms at sure.
b. Overconfident; dogmatic.
6. Formally or arbitrarily determined; prescribed.
7. Concerned with practical rather than theoretical matters.
8. Composed of or characterized by the presence of particular qualities or attributes; real.
a. Of or relating to positivism.
b. 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).
c. Of or relating to religion based on revelation rather than on nature or reason alone.
10. Informal Utter; absolute: a positive darling.
a. Relating to or designating a quantity greater than zero.
b. Relating to or designating the sign (+).
c. Relating to or designating a quantity, number, angle, or direction opposite to another designated as negative.
12. Physics Relating to or designating an electric charge of a sign opposite to that of an electron.
13. Medicine Indicating the presence of a particular disease, condition, or organism: a positive test for pregnancy.
14. Biology Indicating or characterized by response or motion toward the source of a stimulus, such as light: positive tropism.
15. Having the areas of light and dark in their original and normal relationship, as in a photographic print made from a negative.
16. Grammar Of, relating to, or being the simple uncompared degree of an adjective or adverb, as opposed to either the comparative or superlative.
17. Driven by or generating power directly through intermediate machine parts having little or no play: positive drive.
1. An affirmative element or characteristic.
2. Mathematics A quantity greater than zero.
3. Physics A positive electric charge.
4. A photographic image in which the lights and darks appear as they do in nature.
a. The uncompared degree of an adjective or adverb.
b. A word in this degree.
6. Music A division of some pipe organs, similar in sound to the great but smaller and less powerful.
[Middle English, having a specified quality, from Old French positif, from Latin positvus, formally laid down, from positus, past participle of pnere, to place; see apo- in Indo-European roots.]
posi·tive·ness, posi·tivi·ty n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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