From Middle English ambitious, from Old French *ambitieus, from Latin ambitiosus, from ambitio; see ambition. Compare with French ambitieux.


  • (US) IPA(key): /æmˈbɪʃ.əs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪʃəs


ambitious (comparative ambitiouser or more ambitious, superlative ambitiousest or most ambitious)

  1. (of a person or their character) Having or showing ambition; wanting a lot of power, honor, respect, superiority, or other distinction.
    an ambitious person
    someone's ambitious nature
    • 1891, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Man with the Twisted Lip,"
      As I grew richer I grew more ambitious, took a house in the country, and eventually married, without anyone having a suspicion as to my real occupation.
  2. (followed by "of" or the infinitive) Very desirous
  3. Resulting from, characterized by, or indicating, ambition
    Synonyms: showy, aspiring
    an ambitious project
    an ambitious style
    an ambitious attempt to take power
    an ambitious plan
    an ambitious goal
  4. Hard to achieve.
    • 2013 June 1, “Ideas coming down the track”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8838, page 13 (Technology Quarterly):
      A “moving platform” scheme [] is more technologically ambitious than maglev trains even though it relies on conventional rails. Local trains would use side-by-side rails to roll alongside intercity trains and allow passengers to switch trains by stepping through docking bays. This set-up solves several problems  [] . Stopping high-speed trains wastes energy and time, so why not simply slow them down enough for a moving platform to pull alongside?


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.