Meaning of POSITIVE in English


I. pos ‧ i ‧ tive 1 S2 W2 AC /ˈpɒzətɪv, ˈpɒzɪtɪv $ ˈpɑː-/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ positive ; adverb : ↑ positively ; adjective : ↑ positive ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: positif , from Latin positivus , from positus ; ⇨ ↑ position 1 ]

1 . ATTITUDE if you are positive about things, you are hopeful and confident, and think about what is good in a situation rather than what is bad OPP negative

positive about

You’ve got to be more positive about your work.

positive attitude/approach/outlook etc

She’s got a really positive attitude to life.

the power of positive thinking

‘Think positive!’ she advised herself.

2 . GOOD THING good or useful OPP negative :

At least something positive has come out of the situation.

Write down all the positive things about your life.

The rural environment was having a positive effect on the children’s health.

It’s been a very positive experience for her.

TV can be a positive influence.

the positive contribution to the community made by many older people

It’s been a difficult time but, on the positive side, I feel physically fine.

Women should be portrayed in a more positive light.

3 . ACTION if you take positive action, you do something definite in order to try to achieve something:

We need to take positive steps to improve the situation of families in poverty.

Positive action was required.

It’s a relief to know that something positive is being done.

4 . SUPPORT expressing support, agreement, or approval OPP negative

positive response/reaction

The response we’ve had from the public has been very positive.

We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the people of this city.

positive about

Most people have been very positive about the show.

5 . SURE [not before noun] very sure, with no doubt at all that something is right or true SYN certain

positive (that)

Are you absolutely positive you locked the door?

‘Are you sure about that?’ ‘Positive.’

6 . SIGN showing that something is likely to succeed or improve:

The fact that he’s breathing on his own again is a positive sign.

7 . PROOF positive proof/evidence/identification etc proof etc that shows that there is no doubt that something is true:

The witness made a positive identification.

8 . SCIENTIFIC TEST showing signs of the medical condition or chemical that is being looked for OPP negative :

The test results came back positive.

athletes who had tested positive for banned substances

children who are HIV positive

9 . EMPHASIS [only before noun] spoken used to emphasize how good or bad something is SYN total :

The journey was a positive nightmare.

10 . NUMBER technical a positive number is more than zero OPP negative

11 . ELECTRICITY technical having the type of electrical charge that is carried by ↑ proton s OPP negative :

a positive charge

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ nouns

▪ a positive attitude/outlook

Having a positive attitude makes life so much better.

▪ a positive approach

This is just the positive approach that the school needs.

▪ a positive view

He takes a fairly positive view of the future.

▪ a positive thought

Think positive thoughts.

▪ positive thinking

Many people believe that positive thinking can help your recovery from serious illnesses.

■ verbs

▪ think positive (=think positive thoughts)

Cheer up and think positive.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ nouns

▪ a positive thing

That's not a very positive thing to say.

▪ a positive aspect

There are a lot of positive aspects to retirement.

▪ a positive effect/impact

Exercise has a positive effect on health.

▪ a positive influence

His mother was a strong positive influence.

▪ a positive contribution

Most refugees are determined to make a positive contribution to their new country.

▪ a positive result/outcome

We hope there will be a positive outcome to the talks.

▪ a positive experience

Working here has been a very positive experience for me.

▪ a positive role model

We should provide girls with more positive role models.

▪ a positive image

It's important to promote a positive image of our industry to young people.

■ phrases

▪ see/present something in a positive light (=see or present something as good)

If you spend a year travelling after school, employers often see this in a positive light.


The merger was presented to the world in a positive light.

▪ on the positive side (=used when saying what is good about something)

On the positive side, the company’s financial condition remains strong.

II. positive 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ positive ; adverb : ↑ positively ; adjective : ↑ positive ]

a quality or feature that is good or useful OPP negative :

You can find positives in any situation.

Always emphasise the positive.

⇨ ↑ false positive

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.