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When a reaction has a negative enthalpy, it is considered ectothermic because it is releasing heat. You can think of how ecto sounds slightly like exit, and the negative sign as subtracting heat from a system and sending it into its surrounding environment. For endothermic, think of endo like enter. Endothermic enthalpies are positive because the heat must be entered, or added into a system. Heat is thus taken from its environment.
Since enthalpy is a measure of the heat released or gained in chemical reactions, it can be negative. If a reaction has a negative enthalpy, that means it is losing enthalpy to the surroundings (releasing heat), meaning it is exothermic
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