I'm looking for a word that means feeling both happy and sad at the same time. Here's a sentence I'd like to use it in:

"At least we got one vote," she said with a (word I'm looking for) smile.



  • producing or expressing a mixture of pain and pleasure: a movie with a bittersweet ending.
  • pleasant but tinged with sadness.
  • a bittersweet smile.


  • it doesn't fit to the OP's example though, does it? – Nick The Dick Mar 22 '20 at 20:14

While somewhat broader than happy/sad, you could say ambivalent.

Having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone:

Some loved her, some hated her, few were ambivalent about her.


The dictionary on my Mac defines rueful as

expressing sorrow or regret, especially in a wry or humorous way: she gave a rueful grin

which fits OP's sentence quite well.


Melancholic! Bittersweet more exact.


Not exactly what the OP's looking for but tragicomic also describes both happy and sad feelings at the same time.

Tragicomic (adj): Something that is tragicomic is both sad and amusing at the same time.

Example: This was a tragicomic story of human frailty.

Collins dictionary

Or ambivalent.

Ambivalent (adj): Having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.

Example: an ambivalent attitude to Europe.


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