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Related to privative: alpha privative


1. Causing deprivation, lack, or loss.
2. Grammar Altering the meaning of a term from positive to negative.
n. Grammar
A privative prefix or suffix, such as a-, non-, un-, or -less.

[Middle English privatif, from Latin prīvātīvus, from prīvātus, past participle of prīvāre, to deprive; see private.]

priv′a·tive·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. causing privation
2. (Grammar) expressing lack or negation, as for example the English suffix -less and prefix un-
3. (Logic) logic obsolete (of a proposition) that predicates a logical privation
[C16: from Latin prīvātīvus indicating loss, negative]
ˈprivatively adv
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈprɪv ə tɪv)

1. causing, or tending to cause, deprivation.
2. consisting in or characterized by the taking away, loss, or lack of something.
3. Gram. indicating negation or absence.
4. Gram. a privative element, as a- in asymmetric.
priv′a•tive•ly, adv.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


[ˈprɪvətɪv] ADJ & Nprivativo m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
References in classic literature ?
To be without some faculty or to possess it is not the same as the corresponding 'privative' or 'positive'.
Things are said to be opposed in four senses: (i) as correlatives to one another, (ii) as contraries to one another, (iii) as privatives to positives, (iv) as affirmatives to negatives.
Opposites in the sense of 'privatives' and 'positives' are' blindness' and 'sight'; in the sense of affirmatives and negatives, the propositions 'he sits', 'he does not sit'.
(iii) 'privatives' and 'Positives' have reference to the same subject.
To be in a state of 'possession' is, it appears, the opposite of being in a state of 'privation', just as 'positives' and 'privatives' themselves are opposite.
It is evident that 'positives' and 'privatives' are not opposed each to each in the same sense as relatives.
That those terms which fall under the heads of 'positives' and 'privatives' are not opposed each to each as contraries, either, is plain from the following facts: Of a pair of contraries such that they have no intermediate, one or the other must needs be present in the subject in which they naturally subsist, or of which they are predicated; for it is those, as we proved,' in the case of which this necessity obtains, that have no intermediate.
In the case of 'positives' and 'privatives', on the other hand, neither of the aforesaid statements holds good.
In the case of 'positives' and 'privatives', however, change in both directions is impossible.
Neither in the case of contraries, nor in the case of correlatives, nor in the case of 'positives' and 'privatives', is it necessary for one to be true and the other false.
In the case of 'positives' and 'privatives', if the subject does not exist at all, neither proposition is true, but even if the subject exists, it is not always the fact that one is true and the other false.