ambivalence

noun
am·​biv·​a·​lence | \ am-ˈbi-və-lən(t)s How to pronounce ambivalence (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of ambivalence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

One afternoon last week, ahead of Tuesday’s primary in the Colorado governor’s race, Mr. Hause hosted one of the leading Democratic candidates, Representative Jared Polis, and reflected on his journey from political ambivalence to activism. New York Times, "Meet Colorado’s New Single-Issue Voters: The Cannabis Community," 25 June 2018 The performance, devoid of obvious vanity, honors the character's distracted ambivalence. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "A revelatory Denzel Washington in 'The Iceman Cometh'," 10 May 2018 Thirty-eight percent approved either slightly or strongly, and 13 percent reported ambivalence. Sarah Jones, New Republic, "Is Ted Cruz’s re-election bid in trouble?," 29 Jan. 2018 This ambivalence has translated into a harder line among some politicians toward the eastern Ukrainians. David L. Stern, Washington Post, "War in eastern Ukraine now seems a distant storm to Kiev," 26 June 2018 Make some space for your own longing and ambivalence, and resolve not to treat these as moral failings on your part. Heather Havrilesky, The Cut, "‘I’m Starting a New Life, But There’s So Much Pressure to Get It Right!’," 30 May 2018 Unfortunately the world also hears our ambivalence. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Politicians Never Lied Before Trump," 11 Jan. 2019 Sunday’s results only partially reflected the SPD’s deep ambivalence: 66 percent of its voters endorsed the new coalition, with 34 percent rejecting it. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "Germany will finally have a government after Social Democrats clear the way for Merkel’s fourth term," 4 Mar. 2018 This charming ambivalence extends to the show's story and characters. Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader, "After 139 years, Pirates of Penzance is still a satisfying combination of sweet and salty," 27 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of ambivalence

1909, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ambivalence

International Scientific Vocabulary

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ambivalence

ambivalence

noun
am·​biv·​a·​lence | \ am-ˈbiv-ə-lən(t)s How to pronounce ambivalence (audio) \

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 How to pronounce ambivalent (audio) \ adjective
ambivalently adverb

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on ambivalence

What made you want to look up ambivalence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!