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I'm looking for a word to describe a person that has contrasting opinions about them and their opinions are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

The words controversial and dividing are not suitable.

Examples

Kyle could not fathom what people think of him, as he either was very popular with loads of friends who could get stuff for free, or very unpopular with no one wanting to talk to him as he was classed as boring or a sociopath. The differing love and hate he received depending on the environment, was at polar extremeties.

Alex on Monday was gossiped about in a good way by several people boosting her status by becoming one of the few people worth talking about positively, but she was shunned by one of her classes.

Sheridan gave a look, and Kayleigh didn't know whether to hug him or slap him. She could never decipher his true intentions. He was _______

  • Two edits have been made to your question. Please take a look. It would be better if you could write an example sentence where the word would be used. The following is the rule of this community: Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. – user140086 Dec 15 '15 at 17:41
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That person polarizes opinions. A polarizing person. Although it's rare according to ngram.

to cause people to adopt extreme opposing positions" ⇒ ■ to polarize opinion"

  • "Polarizing figure" is the first thing that comes to mind, although ngrams says it's less popular than "controversial personality". – nollidge Dec 15 '15 at 18:05
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"Polarising" (British English) or "polarizing" (US English) could be what you're looking for.

From Merriam-Webster's definition of polarize

: to cause (people, opinions, etc.) to separate into opposing groups

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From Google Books...

Harry Challenor was a 'Marmite' character: either loved or loathed.

From Oxford Dictionaries online...

Marmite Used in reference to something that tends to arouse strongly positive or negative reactions rather than indifference:
the styling is ‘Marmite’ — some hate it, many love it
a proper Marmite sitcom, which people are either utterly loving or totally despising

I don't know if this usage would be understood in Australia, where I think they call this "polarising" yeast spread Vegemite.

  • I'd prefer not to use the word marmite because it doesn't convey the contrasting extremity of the opinions. If I say "I'm like marmite people either love or or hate me" it doesn't make the person any more unique than anyone else. – desbest Dec 15 '15 at 17:49
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    @desbest: I'm afraid I don't understand your point. The very reason this usage has been so enthusiastically adopted is because it's a simple metaphor for "contrasting extremity of the opinions" that doesn't require speakers and audience to know obscure "scientific" terms like polarising. – FumbleFingers Dec 15 '15 at 17:54
  • People don't love or hate marmite to the same extent they love or hate a person. – desbest Dec 15 '15 at 17:57
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    @desbest: Are you actually familiar with the usage? Or indeed the spread itself? Not that it matters whether you personally don't have such strong opinions about the taste of Marmite as you do about someone like the odious Donald Trump, for example. The fact of the matter is that (for BrE speakers, at least), the expression is predicated on the premise that everyone has very, very extreme views about Marmite. – FumbleFingers Dec 15 '15 at 18:03
  • Yes to both questions. You don't understand me. I'm from Britain so I am familiar with how the word marmite is used from a cultural standpoint. Certain adjectives mean practically the same thing, but are more extreme than others, such as big, large and humungous. All three words describe a big size, but each word is more (or less) extreme than the other. The same applies to the word marmite. The word marmite is a weak word. If someone says that they are like marmite, the listener will not infer from that statement that they polarise opinion and make others cry or obsessed with them. – desbest Dec 15 '15 at 18:08

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