ambivalence

noun
am·​biv·​a·​lence | \am-ˈbi-və-lən(t)s \

Definition of ambivalence 

1 : simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (such as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action felt ambivalence toward his powerful father ambivalence toward marriage

2a : continual fluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite)

b : uncertainty as to which approach to follow ambivalence about their goals

Examples of ambivalence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s an intense ambivalence on display, between the success of the individual and the state of the people—a tension that Ta-Nehisi Coates described in his recent interrogation of Kanye West’s newfound Trumpism. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "The Survival Instincts of Atlanta’s Flawless Second Season," 11 May 2018 Well, the reactions of Hawaii residents to the Kilauea volcano eruptions, as told to the Washington Post, range from ambivalence to devastation to nonchalance. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Trump exits Iran deal, Pa. prepares for primaries | Morning Newsletter," 9 May 2018 But the country’s ambivalence to free trade also has deeper historical roots. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, "What noodles can teach us about Nigeria's reluctance on free trade," 9 July 2018 While the court overall in recent years has recognized broader digital privacy rights as technologies have advanced, Kennedy has showed ambivalence about how far those protections should stretch. Derek Hawkins, chicagotribune.com, "How Trump's Supreme Court pick could influence digital privacy," 5 July 2018 While the court overall in recent years has recognized broader digital privacy rights as technologies have advanced, Kennedy has showed ambivalence about how far those protections should stretch. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "The Cybersecurity 202: How Trump's Supreme Court pick could influence digital privacy," 5 July 2018 The clearest sign of the government’s ambivalence came in 2008, when the economy took a turn for the worse and unemployment rose. The Economist, "Japan is finally starting to admit more foreign workers," 5 July 2018 And every week, viewers have been left shrugging in ambivalence. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "'Southern Charm New Orleans' Episode 7: Or, the one in which Tamica Lee gets served," 29 May 2018 In the past, Beijing could count on American corporations to press the White House and Congress to soften their stance on China, but there’s a lot more ambivalence today. Don Lee, The Seattle Times, "China’s ‘warning shot,’ U.S. moves signal possible trade war," 19 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ambivalence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ambivalence

1909, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ambivalence

International Scientific Vocabulary

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More Definitions for ambivalence

ambivalence

noun
am·​biv·​a·​lence | \am-ˈbiv-ə-lən(t)s \

Medical Definition of ambivalence 

: simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action ambivalence which is expressed in behavior by alternating obedience and rebellion— G. S. Blum

Other Words from ambivalence

ambivalent \ -​lənt \ adjective
ambivalently adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on ambivalence

Spanish Central: Translation of ambivalence

Nglish: Translation of ambivalence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ambivalence for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ambivalence

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