Definition of ambivalent in English:



  • Having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.

    ‘some loved her, some hated her, few were ambivalent about her’
    ‘an ambivalent attitude to Europe’
    • ‘Being ambivalent herself, Vowell agrees this might be what attracts her to Canada.’
    • ‘I'm actually starting to feel positive about the upcoming test, as opposed to mildly ambivalent.’
    • ‘He said that he knew of many parents who supported his stance although there were others who disagreed or were ambivalent.’
    • ‘To me, this is an example of our somewhat ambivalent attitudes towards medical care in general.’
    • ‘Newspapers previously ambivalent to him are now grudgingly behind him.’
    • ‘Their attitude to Hale is ambivalent at best and I suspect that it is actively hostile.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, therefore, our attitude to mobile phones is ambivalent.’
    • ‘We have been, as devoted readers can attest, mostly ambivalent on the marriage issue.’
    • ‘He also said Mr O'Brien was ambivalent on the role of the banks connected with the consortium.’
    • ‘I wanted a book that showed us how ambiguous we are, or how ambivalent we are.’
    • ‘Yet, as with all such situations, we feel ambivalent when we consider this factor.’
    • ‘Those sentiments are a far cry from her early years when she had an altogether more ambivalent attitude towards her singing.’
    • ‘They are sometimes ambivalent, but that is a different matter altogether.’
    • ‘I reject totally any statement by the opposition that we have in some way been ambivalent.’
    • ‘I know it pains him that he hasn't seen me grow up and that, now, I seem ambivalent about our relationship.’
    • ‘I don't think there's another band in existence capable of producing such an ambivalent reaction in me.’
    • ‘In some ways they have coveted each other, and yet the economic relationship between the two remains ambivalent.’
    • ‘His assessment of the future of composition in America is ambivalent.’
    • ‘To say that councillors are ambivalent about the idea is an understatement.’
    • ‘In practice, we have managed to do better than our ambivalent attitudes suggest.’
    equivocal, uncertain, unsure, doubtful, indecisive, inconclusive, irresolute, in two minds, undecided, unresolved, in a dilemma, on the horns of a dilemma, in a quandary, on the fence, torn, hesitating, fluctuating, wavering, vacillating, equivocating, mixed
    opposing, conflicting, contradictory, clashing
    confused, muddled, vague, hazy, unclear
    iffy, blowing hot and cold
    View synonyms


Early 20th century: from ambivalence (from German Ambivalenz), on the pattern of equivalent.