ambivalent

play
adjective am·biv·a·lent \-lənt\

Definition of ambivalent

  1. :  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>

ambivalently

adverb <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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

clothing or garments

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • fox-in-front-of-cabin-in-winter
  • The month of December comes from a Latin word that referred to which month of the year?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ