Is there a word that describes the combination of feeling sad for an ending of something, but excited at new prospects. The closest I had was "bittersweet change"


1) At the end of a holiday, I'm excited to go back home, but sad that the holiday is coming to an end.

2) I'm coming to end of my placement year job and sad that it's coming to an end, but excited that I'm going back to university.

I hope this satisfies the requirements of the QA here, if not, comment for me to correct.

9 Answers 9


ambivalent 1. Simultaneously experiencing or expressing opposing or contradictory feelings, beliefs, or motivations.

You might also say you have mixed feelings about it.

  • 1
    Huh. I'd had always though ambivalent had meant 'Not feeling strongly one way or another'.
    – dwjohnston
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 4:15

Bittersweet is concise. Bittersweet conveys both emotion and the polarity of the situation in one word.

  • Bittersweet seems just right: "combining sadness and happiness," as Merriam-Webster puts it.
    – user53907
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 22:14

Left with 'conflicting emotions' could be a good substitute.


Agrodolce is used in culinary language as sour and sweet. I think it also could mean sad and happy, an event that is both an ending and a beginning like high school graduation.

  • Hello Ginger. To quote tchrist, "We are looking for more substantial answers with documented references, not merely [statements that may possibly be no more than] personal opinion. Those are just comments, not answers." Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 22:12

I have to admit I cheated on this question. I thought I had a word in my vocabulary to describe the emotion or state of mind you mentioned, and it eluded me simply because I couldn't jog my memory. The word I found is one I've never heard before - Saudade (English: /ˌsaʊˈdɑːdə/ - basically a "fancier" word for bitter-sweet.

The word I had on the tip of my tongue was also mentioned in the description, that being "a sense of nostalgia" or "feeling nostalgic". For me, personally, nostalgia is a reminiscence of great times... the good ol' days... mixed with a sadness that those days are over and can never be relived.


Ambivalence tends to hold a more apathetic connotation than what Tom is asking for, it feels a lot more like being undecided or unsure about how you feel than a bittersweet combination of happiness/sadness. 'Mixed feelings' suffers from the same problem, although I think it's a little bit closer.

My suggestions would be either to stick with 'bittersweetness', or go with 'conflicted'. I'd be dubious of 'elatasad'.


The Malay word “Sayang” has no equivalent word in English to describe a common emotion in Malaysia. it is affection, love, sorrow and pity all at the same time. - from > http://www.swiss-miss.com/2010/12/untranslatable-words.html

  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question, which is about the English language
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 12:51
  • 1
    I disagree with @RoryAlsop, I think appropriate words in other languages are ones that just haven't been used commonly enough to be considered part of English. e.g. Déjà Vu isn't English, but that's the phrase we use in English anyway. Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 16:59

You could try this one! elatasad,

Definition: feeling sad but also happy and excited.



I feel sappy: I am more happy then sad, but I still recognize that I feel sadness.

  • Do you mean 'sappy' as a portmanteau of happy and sad combined? As sappy is already a word with a very different meaning :) merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sappy Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 23:50
  • And do you really mean you are more happy at first, followed by being sad later? Or do you perhaps mean "more happy than sad"?
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Dec 15, 2013 at 15:32

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