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Ambivalent = uncertainty to do two opposite or conflicting things = of doubtful or uncertain nature = Ambiguous

The above is my understanding of the two word Ambivalent and Ambiguous. Are there any kind souls that can enlighten me by telling me the distinct differences (if there is any) of both the word?

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closed as general reference by onomatomaniak, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, Matt E. Эллен, Jasper Loy, simchona Nov 25 '11 at 16:15

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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That which is ambiguous has the potential to be interpreted in more than one way. For example, if I say ‘I’ve never read a book like it', it’s ambiguous whether I’m impressed by the book’s positive or negative qualities. Ambivalent, on the other hand, describes a person’s attitude. If I can see both good and bad points in an argument you might say that my attitude was ambivalent.

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So, I can say that I can use the word ambiguous if I can't see the good points and bad points. However, if I can see the good points and bad points, then the word ambivalent would be more suitable. – Larry Morries Nov 25 '11 at 8:47
No, not quite that. If you are unsure of the meaning of something, if it might mean one thing or another, then it is ambiguous. 'Ambivalent' describes you attitude if you feel two ways about something. – Barrie England Nov 25 '11 at 8:59
Now I see it. Ambivalent for people attitude while ambiguous for something that can have multiple meanings which might contrast with each other. (This time, do I get it right?) – Larry Morries Nov 25 '11 at 9:07
+1 Thanks Barrie. Now I have a better understanding. – Larry Morries Nov 25 '11 at 9:13
Keep in mind that 'ambiguous' tends to refer to a meaning that is unclear in some way. For example, "Did you see the man with the binoculars?" - it could mean "Did you see the man who was using binoculars?", or "Did you see the man, through your binoculars?". 'Ambivalent', however, tends to apply to having two conflicting (normally opposite) emotions or opinions simultaneously, often where those feelings are usually expected to be mutually exclusive. – Polynomial Nov 25 '11 at 9:42

Things are ambiguous, which means "open to interpretation". People are ambivalent about things, which means "hold opposing attitudes towards something". Things aren't ambivalent, because they don't hold opinions. People can also be ambiguous if, for example, they say something that can be interpreted in multiple ways; people being ambiguous is likely to make you feel ambivalent about trusting them.

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So, I can say that the word ambivalent is only for people but the word ambiguous can apply for people and things? – Larry Morries Nov 25 '11 at 9:01
Generally, yes. – Ben Williams Nov 25 '11 at 9:10
+1 Thanks Ben. Now I have a better understanding. – Larry Morries Nov 25 '11 at 9:13

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