Did you know that ambivalence was coined as psychological term?

It was based on the word equivalence, which is comprised of two Latin roots, equi (equal) and valentia (strength)–which of course means that two things are of equal strength. Well, in 1910, Swiss psychologist Eugen Bleuler wanted a word to mean that two things conflicted with each other in someone’s desires, so based on that well-established word, he took the Latin ambi (both, on both sides) and paired it with valentia.

Of course, this Swiss doctor spoke German, so his term was actually Ambivalenz, but within two years, English speakers had picked it up as ambivalency and were using to indicate “simultaneously conflicting feelings.” It had been shortened to its current form by 1924…and by 1929, the purely psychological term had been taken up by the general populace and applied in both literary and general senses.

I had no idea this word was so new! How about you?

Word Nerds Unite!

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