American Dictionary of the English Language

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PRIV'ATIVE, adjective Causing privation.

1. Consisting in the absence of something; not positive. privative is in things, what negative is in propositions; as privative blessings, safeguard, liberty and integrity.

PRIV'ATIVE, noun That of which the essence is the absence of something. Blackness and darkness are privatives.

1. In grammar, a prefix to a word which changes its signification and gives it a contrary sense, as a, in Greek; unjust; un and in in English, as unwise, inhuman. The word may also be applied to suffixes, as less, in harmless.