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    I am trying to figure out how the word "ambivalent" is used in the United States. I always thought it meant something like: "being torn about," "have conflicting opinions" or "have contradicting views" on an issue.

    When I asked several of my American friends, all college-educated, two were journalists, the first definition they all gave me was "Not caring about" an issue, meaning "not caring enough to have an opinion."

    I don't find the idea of "not caring" associated with "ambivalent" in any dictionaries. Does the word have a different meaning in the States? I don't want to misuse it and give wrong impressions when I use the word.

    Any help you may be able to provide would be very much appreciated.

    • Join Date: May 2009
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    Re: ambivalent


    1. The coexistence of opposing attitudes or feelings, such as love and hate, toward a person, object, or idea. 2. Uncertainty or indecisiveness as to which course to follow.
    I think the "not caring" association is coming from the second definition. If you are uncertain or indecisive about something, it means you don't have a strong opinion, which could be mistaken for apathy. It might also be a cultural idea that if you care about something, you will form a strong opinion of it. If you haven't taken the time to sort out your feelings on a matter, it must be because you don't care. People might settle for ambivalence when they've given up on an issue. In that way, ambivalence and apathy would have a strong correlation. It is not a term used with a lot of passion in the US, I think.

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    Re: ambivalent

    I’m not a teacher.


    Here are a few words concerning the matter in question. The Internet is full with well informed and very reliable sources which should satisfy your curiosity. It would be better to have something on good authority.

    ambivalence = the state of having conflicting feelings.

    ambivalence = a state of experiencing two opposing emotions at the same time. It may be produced by being psychologically pulled in opposite directions by two significant others. For example, a coach may encourage an athlete to win at all costs, while a parent encourages the athlete to believe that taking part and developing good sporting behaviour is the most important consideration.

    ambivalence (ămbĭv'ələns) , coexistence of two opposing drives, desires, feelings, or emotions toward the same person, object, or goal. The ambivalent person may be unaware of either of the opposing wishes. The term was coined in 1911 by Eugen Bleuler, to designate one of the major symptoms of schizophrenia, the others being autism and disturbances of affect (i.e., emotion) and of association (i.e., thought disorders).

    In Freudian psychoanalysis, ambivalence was described as feelings of love and hate toward the same person. This specific meaning has attained common usage by psychiatrists and psychoanalysts.

    ambivalent (adj.) = uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow
    "was ambivalent about having children"

    Nor is a description of the ambivalent role of the Church between distance to the state and pillar of the system lacking.

    The differentiation of the theatre repertoire and the intersection of the independent scene and the Municipal Theatre have had ambivalent consequence: the FFT and the nearby Theatre an der Ruhre in Mulheim as well as the Düsseldorf Theatre, with both of which exchange productions are arranged, have sometimes become competitors.

    ambivalent = ambiguous, conflicting, confused, contradictory, doubtful, fluctuating, hesitant, inconclusive, inconsistent, irresolute, mixed, opposed, uncertain, undecided, unresolved, unsettled, unsure, vacillating, warring, wavering


    Last edited by vil; 24-May-2009 at 18:16.


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