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negative +‎ -ly


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negatively (comparative more negatively, superlative most negatively)

  1. In a negative manner; so as to be damaging or not positive.
    • 1644, John Milton, chapter 3, in The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce[1], London, page 38:
      How justly then might human law and Philosophy rise up against the righteousnesse of Moses, if this be true which our vulgar Divinity Fathers upon him, yeah upon God himselfe; not silently and only negatively to permit, but in his law to divulge a written and generall priviledge to commit and persist in unlawfull divorces with a high hand, with security and no ill fame []
    • 1722, Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, London: J. Cooke, 1765, p. 17,[2]
      At last one of them asked me what a Gentlewoman was? that puzzled me much; but however, I explained myself negatively; that it was one that did not go to Service to do Housework []
    • 1776, Thomas Paine, Common Sense[3], 6th edition, Philadelphia, page 5:
      Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively, by uniting our affections; the latter negatively, by restraining our vices.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, chapter 1, in The Uncommercial Traveller[4], London: Chapman & Hall, published 1905, page 1:
      Allow me to introduce myself—first, negatively. ¶ No landlord is my friend and brother, no chambermaid loves me, no waiter worships me, no boots admires and envies me.
    • 1997 June 2, John E. Chubb, “Too much of a good thing”, in Time:
      Having the entire summer off from school negatively affects learning.
    • 2009 May 13, Mark Sweney, James Robinson, “Not all regions like to hear their own accents in ads, survey finds”, in The Guardian[5]:
      Tynesiders appear to be proud of their accents, according to the findings, but Brummies responded negatively to hearing their vowels on TV and radio, partly because they recognise they are ridiculed for them by some of their compatriots.
  2. (responding to a question, proposal, vote, etc.) In the negative; with the answer “no.”
    • 1683, Richard Browne (translator), The Cure of Old Age and Preservation of Youth by Roger Bacon, London: Tho. Flesher, Doubt VII, p. 83,[6]
      I answer negatively:
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, “Chapter 128”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, →OCLC:
      Throttling his joy, Ahab negatively answered this unexpected question []
    • 1935 April 8, “Season’s End”, in Time:
      Twelve States now in the affirmative column at one time or another in the past voted negatively.
    • 1983, Reuters, “Iran rebuffs Iraq on sparing civilians,” New York Times, 27 May, 1983,[7]
      Iran responded negatively today to a proposal by Iraq that the two countries agree to stop shelling each other’s towns and villages.



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