c. 1400, "expressing denial," from Old French negatif (13c.) and directly from Latin negativus "that which denies," from negat-, past participle stem of negare "deny, say no" (see deny). Meaning "expressing negation" is from c. 1500; that of "characterized by absence" is from 1560s. Algebraic sense is from 1670s. The electricity sense is from 1755.
Negative Capability, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. [John Keats, letter, Dec. 21, 1817]Related: Negatively.
late 14c., "a prohibition; absence, nonexistence; opposite," from Old French negatif and directly from Latin negativus (see negative (adj.)). Meaning "a negative statement" is from 1560s. As a response, "I refuse, disagree, no," from 1945. Meaning "a negative quality" is from 1640s. In mathematics, "a negative number," from 1706. Photographic sense first recorded 1853.