Definition of ambivalent
: having or showing simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings toward something or someone : characterized by ambivalence < … people whose relationship to their job is ambivalent, conflicted. — Terrence Rafferty> <Americans are deeply ambivalent about the country's foreign role. Isolationist yearnings coexist uneasily with superpower policies. — David P. Calleo>
ambivalentlyadverb <He spoke ambivalently about his military experiences.>
Did You Know?
Ambivalent is a fairly new word, less than a hundred years old, and, not surprisingly, it was first used by psychologists. Since being ambivalent means simply having mixed feelings about some question or issue, some of us spend most of our lives in a state of ambivalence. We might feel ambivalence about accepting a high-paying job that requires us to work long hours, about lending money to someone we like but don't know well--or about ordering a Tutti-Frutti Chocolate Banana Sundae El Supremo after we've been starving on a strict diet for weeks.
Origin and Etymology of ambivalent
International Scientific Vocabulary
First Known Use: 1909
Seen and Heard
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