From German Ambivalenz (“simultaneous conflicting feelings”), from Latin ambo (“both”) and valentia (“strength”), from the verb valere (“to be strong”) (see valiant). Coined in 1910 by Swiss psychologist Eugen Bleuler; by 1929, it had taken on a broader literary and general sense.
ambivalence (countable and uncountable, plural ambivalences)
- The coexistence of opposing attitudes or feelings (such as love and hate) towards a person, object or idea.
- 1952, Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, Prologue:
- "I dearly loved my master, son," she said.
- "You should have hated him," I said.
- "He gave me several sons," she said, "and because I loved my sons I learned to love their father though I hated him too."
- "I too have become acquainted with ambivalence, I said.
- A state of uncertainty or indecisiveness.
This word is often used to express a lack of concern about the outcome of a choice to be made. In this case, a more appropriate word to use is indifference.
coexistence of opposing attitudes
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