What's a word that has the half-positive, half-negative denotation of half-hearted but none of the unenthusiastic connotations?

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    This might be a problematic request, since any thing that has half positive half negative will be well correlated with lack of enthusiasm. – Mitch Jul 17 '15 at 14:22
  • You need to provide context and/or examples for this sort of request. Allow us to understand why "half-hearted" doesn't work for you. – Canis Lupus Jul 17 '15 at 20:39

Ambivalent: simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action (m-w.com)

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I think neutral may suggest the half-positive and half-negative connotations of half-hearted without a negative bias:

  • of no distinctive quality, characteristics, or type.
  • A half-hearted smile; a neutral smile.

The Free Dictionary

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Perhaps of two minds

undecided; wavering: he was in two minds about marriage


I have only personally heard the of version. The in form has apparently diminished in usage in the later 20th century in the US according to ngram plots. In British English, the reverse seems true according to ngram.


in two minds - British

of two minds - British

in two minds - US

of two minds - US

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A "muted" response? or "non-committal"

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paradoxical: self-contradictory
bittersweet: pleasure alloyed with pain
lopsided: inclined to one side

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Reserved - "There was no extra water, and their enthusiasm was somewhat reserved."

Conservative - "There are no guarantees - so we encourage conservative spending."

Tame - "They were surrounded by sleeping bears, so the applause for her speech was fairly tame."

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  1. (especially of a liquid) only slightly warm; lukewarm. synonyms: lukewarm, warmish, slightly warm; at room temperature "tepid water"

  2. showing little enthusiasm. "the applause was tepid" synonyms: unenthusiastic, apathetic, muted, halfhearted, so-so, 'comme ci, comme ├ža', indifferent, subdued, cool, lukewarm, uninterested, unenthused "a tepid response"

from Google's definition

Because tepid's primary meaning is a literal one related to water, it has very little positive or negative connotation because people generally don't have strong emotional commitments to water temperature.

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I feel that indifferent is a good word for this request.

Indifferent via Webster's

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