From Middle English ambassadore, from Anglo-Norman ambassaduer, ambassateur, from Old Italian ambassatore, ambassadore, from Old Provençal ambaisador (“ambassador”), derivative of ambaissa (“service, mission, errand”), from Gothic 𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌱𐌰𐌷𐍄𐌹 (andbahti, “service, function”), from Proto-Germanic *ambahtiją (“service, office”), derivative of Proto-Germanic *ambahtaz (“servant”), of Celtic origin, from Gaulish *ambactos (“servant”), from Proto-Indo-European *ambʰi- (“around”) + Proto-Indo-European *aǵ- (“to drive”). More at umbe, agent.
ambassador (plural ambassadors)
- A minister of the highest rank sent to a foreign court to represent there his sovereign or country.
- An official messenger and representative.
- (obsolete, slang) A trick to duck some ignorant fellow or landsman, frequently played on board ships in the warm latitudes. It is thus managed: A large tub is filled with water, and two stools placed on each side of it. Over the whole is thrown a tarpaulin, or old sail: this is kept tight by two persons, who are to represent the king and queen of a foreign country, and are seated on the stools. The person intended to be ducked plays the Ambassador, and after repeating a ridiculous speech dictated to him, is led in great form up to the throne, and seated between the king and queen, who rising suddenly as soon as he is seated, he falls backwards into the tub of water.
- A corporate representative, often the public face of the company.
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