In the simplest sense, positive means good — or the opposite of negative. If you have a positive attitude about homework, for example, you're more likely to get positive feedback on your report card.

Keeping track of positive's many meanings can be positively confusing. For starters, if you're positive about something, you're totally sure. In math, any quantity greater than zero is positive. In medicine, a positive result on a test indicates the presence of a disease. And that isn't a very positive experience for anyone.

Definitions of positive
  1. adjective
    characterized by or displaying affirmation or acceptance or certainty etc.
    “a positive attitude”
    “the reviews were all positive
    “a positive benefit”
    “a positive demand”
    affirmative, affirmatory
    affirming or giving assent
    constructing or tending to construct or improve or promote development
    expecting the best in this best of all possible worlds
    affirmative, optimistic
    expecting the best
    emphasizing what is laudable or hopeful or to the good
    furnishing support or assistance
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    characterized by or displaying negation or denial or opposition or resistance; having no positive features
    possessing no distinctive quality or characteristics
    causing destruction or much damage
    expecting the worst possible outcome
    antagonistic, counter
    indicating opposition or resistance
    marked by a disposition to oppose and contradict
    neutralised, neutralized
    made neutral in some respect; deprived of distinctive characteristics
    not having or expressing opinions or views
    not furnishing support or assistance
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  2. adjective
    persuaded of; very sure
    “I am positive he is lying”
    synonyms: confident, convinced
    certain, sure
    having or feeling no doubt or uncertainty; confident and assured
  3. adjective
    impossible to deny or disprove
    “proof positive
    synonyms: incontrovertible, irrefutable
    not possible to deny
  4. adjective
    marked by excessive confidence
    “the less he knows the more positive he gets”
    synonyms: cocksure, overconfident
    having or marked by confidence or assurance
  5. adjective
    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”
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    reckoned in a direction opposite to that regarded as positive
  6. adjective
    greater than zero
    positive numbers”
    on the positive side or higher end of a scale
  7. adjective
    indicating existence or presence of a suspected condition or pathogen
    “a positive pregnancy test”
    synonyms: confirming
    (of bacteria) being or relating to a bacterium that retains the violet stain used in Gram's method
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    disconfirming, negative
    not indicating the presence of microorganisms or disease or a specific condition
    (of bacteria) being of or relating to a bacterium that does not retain the violet stain used in Gram's method
    show more antonyms...
  8. adjective
    having a positive charge
    “protons are positive
    synonyms: electropositive, positively charged
    of a particle or body or system; having a net amount of positive or negative electric charge
  9. noun
    the primary form of an adjective or adverb; denotes a quality without qualification, comparison, or relation to increase or diminution
    synonyms: positive degree
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    type of:
    a word that expresses an attribute of something
    a word that modifies something other than a noun
  10. adjective
    involving advantage or good
    synonyms: plus
    giving an advantage
  11. adjective
    formally laid down or imposed
    positive laws”
    synonyms: prescribed
    being in accord with established forms and conventions and requirements (as e.g. of formal dress)
  12. adjective
    of or relating to positivism
    positive philosophy”
    synonyms: positivist, positivistic
  13. noun
    a film showing a photographic image whose tones correspond to those of the original subject
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    type of:
    film, photographic film
    photographic material consisting of a base of celluloid covered with a photographic emulsion; used to make negatives or transparencies
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