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From German Ambivalenz ‎(simultaneous conflicting feelings), from Latin ambo ‎(both) and valentia ‎(strength), from the verb valere ‎(to be strong) (see valiant). Coined 1910 by Swiss psychologist Eugen Bleuler, by 1929 had taken on a broader literary and general sense.


ambivalence ‎(countable and uncountable, plural ambivalences)

  1. The coexistence of opposing attitudes or feelings (such as love and hate) towards a person, object or idea.
  2. A state of uncertainty or indecisiveness.

Usage notes[edit]

This word is often used to express a lack of concern about the outcome of a choice to be made [1]. In this case, a more appropriate word to use is indifference. The confusion is probably caused by the similarity of sounds between the two words and the passive sound of the word.

Related terms[edit]


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ambivalence f ‎(plural ambivalences)

  1. ambivalence
  2. ambiguity