As a software engineer, I need a word for this. I find myself writing code which is at once fugly (not to be shown to anyone) but also somewhat clever and surprising (at least I think so).

Sample sentence: Damn, this code makes me feel _____!

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    unmaintainable, write-only
    – Jim
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 16:31
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    Disgust and pride are feelings one has. Your sample sentence does not ask for that.
    – Jim
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 16:33
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    To @Jim's comment: You couldn't plug in "Damn, this code is disgust and pride", so the example sentence doesn't work. Do you mean something like "code that may make one feel a combination of disgust and pride" or "Damn, this code fills me with feelings of ____." Edit accordingly and the close votes will likely to lifted.
    – jimm101
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 17:53
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    I've occasionally used "bad magic" for this sort of thing. Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 19:19
  • @Jim updated sample sentence :) Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 7:35

4 Answers 4


Damn, this hack makes me feel ambivalent!

What is a single word to describe the "feeling" of conflicting emotions of disgust (self-loathing) and pride (self-admiration)?

joy + sadness : bittersweet :: disgust + admiration: ambivalence

From the Wikipedia, ambivalence: is a state of having simultaneous conflicting reactions, beliefs, or feelings towards some object. Being ambivalent doesn't mean you don't care, it means you have contradictory or mixed feelings about it. ... You do care—and you're torn, at the same time.

  • No; far too hypernymic. Happy yet anxious. Relieved but sad.... Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 15:54
  • But OP wants one word. Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 8:51
  • Stackexchange is always about answering the OP's question. The constraint here is one word. Period. Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 2:24
  • Hypernym : Generic_meaning :: Quaternary_Dyad : Combination_of_Antithetical_Emotions. As per UCLA Professor of Sociology Warren TenHouten, ambivalence is one of four specific quarternary dyads. QED. Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 5:03
  • In your words, sad but relieved (~serenity) ~= bittersweet (another quaternary dyad), or happy (low intensity joy) yet anxious (low intensity fear) = guilt (a secondary dyad). Take your pick! Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 5:50

Damn, this code is a hack!


  1. n. Originally, a quick job that produces what is needed, but not well.
  2. n. An incredibly good, and perhaps very time-consuming, piece of work that produces exactly what is needed.

neat hack:

    A clever technique.

From The Jargon File, version 4.4.8.

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    This correctly fits my previous (incorrect) sample sentence, which I have since edited, but is not what I am looking for. Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 7:37

Pick a devious character from Game of Thrones and turn their name into an adjective by adding “ish” on the end.

More generically, there’s fiendish, devilish, machiavellian and other terms that have softened in their meaning over the years.

Or maybe shameless.


Like bad,wicked seems to have come to mean both good (positive) and bad (negative):

American Heritage Dictionary:

     1. Evil or immoral …
     2. Playfully malicious or mischievous: a wicked prank; a critic's wicked wit.
     5. Slang Strikingly good, effective, or skillful: a wicked curve ball; a wicked imitation.


    1. Evil or morally wrong.

      1.3 Playfully mischievous.
        ‘Ben has a wicked sense of humor’

      1.4 informal Excellent; wonderful.

Macmillan Dictionary:

     1. morally wrong and deliberately intending to hurt people

     3. VERY INFORMAL  very good.  This word is used mainly by young people.


    Wicked has two quite contradictory meanings.  If something is pure evil, then it is wicked.  Think Darth Vader.  On the other hand, as an informal slang term, wicked also means excellent — as in "that DJ is wicked, man!"  Go figure.

IMHO, while bad means either bad or good, wicked has the potential to mean both at once.  YMMV.

  • I feel this doesn't address the nub of the question. These are two completely distinct senses, while I feel OP wants a word whose sense is somewhere between disgust and pride. Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 13:03
  • The OP needs a word that captures the "feel" (from his own posting) of experiencing the combination of two antithetical emotions. Ambivalence is one (of only four) antithetical dyads that is part of the established pyschological research. Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 6:09

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