(1)   Involving advantage or good
"A plus (or positive) factor"
(2)   Marked by excessive confidence
"An arrogant and cocksure materialist"
"So overconfident and impudent as to speak to the queen"
"The less he knows the more positive he gets"
(3)   Impossible to deny or disprove
"Incontrovertible proof of the defendant's innocence"
"Proof positive"
"An irrefutable argument"
(4)   Formally laid down or imposed
"Positive laws"
(5)   Characterized by or displaying affirmation or acceptance or certainty etc.
"A positive attitude"
"The reviews were all positive"
"A positive benefit"
"A positive demand"
(6)   Greater than zero
"Positive numbers"
(7)   Reckoned, situated or tending in the direction which naturally or arbitrarily is taken to indicate increase or progress or onward motion
"Positive increase in graduating students"
(8)   Indicating existence or presence of a suspected condition or pathogen
"A positive pregnancy test"
(9)   Having a positive electric charge
"Protons are positive"
(10)   Of or relating to positivism
"Positivist thinkers"
"Positivist doctrine"
"Positive philosophy"


(11)   A film showing a photographic image whose tones correspond to those of the original subject


From Old positif, or positivus, from the past participle stem of . Compare posit.


  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. 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. Actual, real, concrete.
  11. 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. Having more protons than electrons.
    A cation is a positive ion as it has more protons than electrons.
  13. Of number, greater than zero.
  14. HIV positive.


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