from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Causing deprivation, lack, or loss.
- adj. 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.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Causing privation.
- adj. In grammar indicating the absence of something.
- n. Something that causes privation or indicates an absence.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Causing privation; depriving.
- adj. Consisting in the absence of something; not positive; negative.
- adj. Implying privation or negation; giving a negative force to a word; ; -- applied to such prefixes and suffixes as a- (Gr. �), un-, non-, -less.
- n. That of which the essence is the absence of something.
- n. A term indicating the absence of any quality which might be naturally or rationally expected; -- called also privative term.
- n. A privative prefix or suffix. See Privative, a., 3.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Causing privation or destitution.
- Depending on or consisting in privation in the logical sense.
- In grammar: Changing the sense of a word from positive to negative: as, a privative prefix;
ἀ- or ἀν- privative.
- Predicating negation: as, a privative word.
- n. That which depends on, or of which the essence is, the absence of something else, as silence, which exists by the absence of sound.
- n. In grammar: A prefix to a word which changes its signification and gives it a contrary sense, as un- in unwise, in- in inhuman, an- in anarchy, a- in achromatic.
- n. A word which not only predicates negation of a quality in an object, but also involves the notion that the absent quality is naturally inherent in it, and is absent through loss or some other privative cause.
Middle English privatif, from Latin prīvātīvus, from prīvātus, past participle of prīvāre, to deprive; see private.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)