No Matter How You Say It: Positivity

by | Jul 24, 2022 | No Matter How You Say It | 0 comments

Word Origin

positive (adj.)

early 14c., originally a legal term meaning “formally laid down, decreed or legislated by authority” (opposed to natural),  from Old French positif (13c.) and directly from Latin positivus “settled by agreement, positive” (opposed to naturalis “natural”), from positus, past participle of ponere “put, place”.

 The sense of “absolute” is from mid-15c. Meaning in philosophy of “dealing only with facts” is from 1590s. Sense broadened to “expressed without qualification” (1590s), then, of persons, “confident in opinion” (1660s).

Roughly, the word in -ity usually means the quality of being what the adjective describes, or concretely an instance of the quality, or collectively all the instances; & the word in -ism means the disposition, or collectively all those who feel it. [Fowler]


Can you see how positivity is rooted in confidence or certainty?

Sign Language

Check out the following links from Handspeak for the American Sign Language interpretation of the words



Both of these words are compound signs that combine thinking with positive and negative.  Can you see the difference between positive and negative thinking?

Positivity Idioms

The glass is half-full:  the positive spin rather than half-empty

Look on the bright side: look for the positive

Count your Blessings – gratitude keeps you positive

Every cloud has a silver lining:  the positive may not be obvious at first

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade: make the best of a bad situation

When one door closes, another one opens:  wait for things to get better

Keep your chin up: keep looking up

There is light at the end of the tunnel:  persevere until the end for success

Hang in there:  don’t quit

In Other Languages

Spanish – positividad

French – positivité

German – Positivität

Italian – positività

Swedish – positivitet

Basque – positibotasuna

Portugese – positividade