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[fawls-poz-i-tiv] /ˈfɔlsˈpɒz ɪ tɪv/
noun, Also, false positive
  1. a test result that is incorrect because the test indicated a condition or finding that does not exist:
    a false-positive for syphilis.
  2. a person who receives this test result.
  1. any screening test result that incorrectly detected or classified a person or thing:
    A false-positive at the airport could cause you to miss your flight.
  2. a person or thing identified by such a test.
pertaining to or being a false-positive:
The test has a false-positive rate of 4%.
Compare false-negative. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for false positive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It's called "the paradox of the false positive," and it's a doozy.

    Little Brother Cory Doctorow
British Dictionary definitions for false positive

false positive

a result in a medical test that wrongly indicates the presence of the condition being tested for
a person from whom such a result is obtained
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for false positive
noun, adjective

a test result that is read as positive but actually is negative, a test that shows evidence of a disease when it not present; also written false-positive

Usage Note


noun, adjective's 21st Century Lexicon
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false positive in Medicine

false positive n.
A positive test result in a subject that does not possess the attribute for which the test is being conducted.

false'-pos·i·tive adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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