The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Negative \Neg"a*tive\ (n[e^]g"[.a]*t[i^]v), n. [Cf. F.
1. A proposition by which something is denied or forbidden; a
conception or term formed by prefixing the negative
particle to one which is positive; an opposite or
contradictory term or conception.
This is a known rule in divinity, that there is no
command that runs in negatives but couches under it
a positive duty. --South.
2. A word used in denial or refusal; as, not, no.
Note: In Old England two or more negatives were often joined
together for the sake of emphasis, whereas now such
expressions are considered ungrammatical, being chiefly
heard in iliterate speech. A double negative is now
sometimes used as nearly or quite equivalent to an
No wine ne drank she, neither white nor red.
These eyes that never did nor never shall
So much as frown on you. --Shak.
3. The refusal or withholding of assents; veto.
If a kind without his kingdom be, in a civil sense,
nothing, then . . . his negative is as good as
4. That side of a question which denies or refuses, or which
is taken by an opposing or denying party; the relation or
position of denial or opposition; as, the question was
decided in the negative.
5. (Photog.) A picture upon glass or other material, in which
the light portions of the original are represented in some
opaque material (usually reduced silver), and the dark
portions by the uncovered and transparent or
semitransparent ground of the picture.
Note: A negative is chiefly used for producing photographs by
means of passing light through it and acting upon
sensitized paper, thus producing on the paper a
6. (Elect.) The negative plate of a voltaic or electrolytic
Negative pregnant (Law), a negation which implies an
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
NEGATIVE PREGNANT, pleading. Such form of negative expression, in pleading,
as may imply or carry within it an affirmative.
2. This is faulty, because the meaning of such form of expression is
ambiguous. Example: in trespass for entering the plaintiff's house, the
defendant pleaded, that the plaintiff's daughter gave him license to do so;
and that he entered by that license. The plaintiff replied that he did not
enter by her license. This was considered as a negative pregnant and it was
held the plaintiff should have traversed the entry by itself, or the license
by itself, and not both together. Cro. Jac. 87.
3. It may be observed that this form of traverse may imply; or carry
within it, that the license was given, though the defendant did not enter by
that license. It is therefore in the language of pleading said to be
pregnant with the admission, namely, that a license was given: at the same
time, the license is not expressly admitted, and the effect therefore is, to
leave it in doubt whether the plaintiff means to deny the license, or to
deny, that the defendant entered by virtue of that license. It is this
ambiguity which appears to constitute the fault. 28 H. VI. 7; Hob. 295;
Style's Pr. Reg. Negative Pregnant. Steph. PI. 381; Gourd, Pl. c. 6, Sec.
4. This rule, however, against a negative pregnant, appears, in modern
times at least, to have received no very strict construction; for many cases
have occurred in which, upon various grounds of distinction from the general
rule, that form of expression has been free from objection. See several
instances in Com. Dig. Pleader, R. 6; 1 Lev. 88; Steph. Pl. 383. Vide Arch.
Civ. PI. 218; Doct. Pl. 817; Lawe's Civ. Pl. 114; Gould, Pl. c. 6, 36.