Are there any synonyms for bitter-sweet? I've tried having a look on online thesauri, but haven't had much luck in finding anything suitable.

The context I wish to use this in: I have described something (the proliferation of data) in text as having both positive and negative attributes, and would like to state that something else, similarly, possesses this 'bitter-sweet' characteristic.

I don't want to use 'bitter-sweet', however, because it doesn't sound serious or formal enough in the context I am using it in, if that makes sense. Is there another word that describes something as having both beneficial and disadvantageous features?

  • In a way, it’s ambivalent (or perhaps rather, your attitude towards it is). Or it’s a double-edged sword (though that does feel a bit odd in your particular situation). Sep 14 '14 at 15:58
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    Hmmm... I don't think either of these express precisely what I have in mind, but thanks for the suggestions :) I just found this awesome word, though: agathokakological (composed of both good and evil)
    – user90720
    Sep 14 '14 at 16:08
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    Try "mixed blessing" or "both a blessing and a curse." I cannot share your enthusiasm for agathokakological: yes, it combines Greek for good and bad, but the addition of the -logical part makes it an adjective for characterizing something as involved with discourse about good and bad (often especially academic or scientific discourse). Sep 14 '14 at 16:24
  • @BrianDonovan I see what you mean... :( Think I'll go for "both a blessing and a curse" in that case.
    – user90720
    Sep 14 '14 at 16:35
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    Also keep in mind that if you use agathokakological, be prepared that your readers are probably not going to have a clue what you’re talking about. Sep 14 '14 at 17:15

Rather than going for a complex adjectival phrase, or for a rare allusion, I would suggest using a simple declarative approach and rhetoric. This will help keep the writing vigorous.

The proliferation of data within text is not without problems.

The use of litotes -- "... not without ..." -- both rhetorically suggests and then refutes the assertion that the trend is unproblematic, but does so compactly.

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