Imagine that you are waiting for something you really want to happen, like maybe buying a new gadget. Since you really want it, when you finally happen to get it you feel satisfied and happy. However, it may happen that the gadget is not that awesome, it's just... good. So along with the feeling of satisfaction you feel a little frustrated, something like "Wow, I finally got it, it's awesome! But hey, I was expecting it to be a little more awesome...".

Or, as another example, you are waiting for some event to happen, maybe your favorite band's concert. And when it's over you feel happy because it had finally happened, but at the same time you feel sad that it's gone.

Is there a word or a short phrase to express this mixed feeling?

  • In the specific case of buying something then regretting it, "Buyer's Remorse". Not a single word though. Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 16:45
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    We called that "boonshniggle" in the projects :D . e.x. "I bought this mp3 player... and that s*** was boonshniggle!" Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 17:49
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    I don't think there is a single word that fits both of your examples well. Underwhelming goes with the first (not as good as expected), and bittersweet is good for the second (having good and bad parts). Neither is a good choice for the other condition. Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 19:41
  • How about Satisfration?
    – Bohemian
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 5:33

11 Answers 11


I would call that "anticlimactic", a form of anticlimax, where the resulting event does not really live up to the expectations of that event.

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    +1 I wouldn't use 'anticlimactic' for this case, but I see the connection between the word and event. I think people usually connect 'anticlimactic' to stories (whether it be books, movies, audio, etc) Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 17:47

What you describe are bittersweet experiences.

  • +1 Especially relevant for the 2nds scenario in question.
    – Patrick M
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 22:18

I would call it underwhelming.

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    I use this word often! :-) Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 16:27

I believe disappointment is very close to what fits the bill: a long-expected resolution arrives and it's not what you wanted.

From NOAD:

disappointment (n.) the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one's hopes or expectations


Perhaps you are satisficed with the gadget.

Satisficing is a decision-making strategy or cognitive heuristic that entails searching through the available alternatives until an acceptability threshold is met. The term satisficing, a portmanteau of satisfy and suffice, was introduced by Herbert A. Simon in 1956, although the concept was first posted in his 1947 book Administrative Behavior.

This neologism ("satisfied" + "sufficed") was coined by Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon. You are satisfied with the outcome, even though the gadget or concert barely makes the grade.

  • +1, You get the brownie points for using a made-up word.
    – Ryan
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 17:14

In terms of buying something, you could say that you have "buyer's remorse" to describe the pang of regret associated with the purchase, especially if it were an expensive purchase.


I would simply call this a letdown, which is more or less the same thing as saying "a disappointment".

A letdown is an experience that did not fulfill your expectations. Maybe your expectations are too high. Maybe the product is a bit less than it was sold as. Either way, a letdown.


IMO, your use of mixed feelings seems to sum up the situation perfectly:

A partly positive and partly negative reaction to something, as in I have mixed feelings about this trip; I'd love to go but don't want to ride in that tiny car.

For a single word alternative, I'd suggest ambivalence:

Ambivalence is a state of having simultaneous, conflicting feelings toward a person or thing. Stated another way, ambivalence is the experience of having thoughts and/or emotions of both positive and negative valence toward someone or something. A common example of ambivalence is the feeling of both love and hate for a person. The term also refers to situations where "mixed feelings" of a more general sort are experienced, or where a person experiences uncertainty or indecisiveness concerning something.

Aside: Cognitive dissonance is a term used in modern psychology to describe the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions.


"disillusioned" is the word I believe "disenchanted" would be another

  • Good ones, @diana! Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 20:57

Specifically related to purchasing things, I would call it buyer's remorse.

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    I beat you by three minutes!
    – tylerharms
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 15:01
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    Hold on, I've got a cookie around here somewhere.
    – Sam
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 15:07
  • @Sam What did you mean by "I've got a cookie around here somewhere"? I don't quite get the humor :(
    – Terry Li
    Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 4:16

In the first case of waiting for the gadget, you are waiting with bated breath. It's performance and your experience are influenced by the weight of your expectations, and it may measure up to them, or come up a little bit short. The experience could be quite a roller coaster ride.

Near the end of the concert, you may feel wistful.

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