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From Old French verb enbuscier, anbuchier (whence the Middle French noun embusche), from Old French en- + Vulgar Latin boscus, bosca, boscum (wood), from Frankish *boscu, *busk (bush), from Proto-Germanic *busk- (bush, heavy stick). Compare ambuscade. The change to am- from earlier forms in en- is unexplained. More at bush.



ambush (plural ambushes)

  1. The act of concealing oneself and lying in wait to attack by surprise.
  2. An attack launched from a concealed position.
    • Milton
      Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege / Or ambush from the deep.
  3. The troops posted in a concealed place, for attacking by surprise; those who lie in wait.
    • Bible, Josh. viii. 19
      The ambush arose quickly out of their place.

Derived 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.


ambush (third-person singular simple present ambushes, present participle ambushing, simple past and past participle ambushed)

  1. (transitive) To station in ambush with a view to surprise an enemy.
    • Dryden
      By ambushed men behind their temple laid / We have the king of Mexico betrayed.
  2. (transitive) To attack by ambush; to waylay.


Further readingEdit

  • ambush at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • ambush in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911