Definition of ambition
1a : an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power With her talent and fierce ambition, she became a very successful actress.b : desire to achieve a particular end
2 : the object of ambition Her ambition is to start her own business.
3 US : a desire for activity or exertion felt sick and had no ambition
ambitionlessplay \-ləs\ adjective
Examples of ambition in a Sentence
My first ambition as a child was to be in the circus.
He lacked ambition and couldn't compete with the others.
Recent Examples of ambition from the Web
Books cost next to nothing in the Iran of her childhood, and her earliest ambition was to read everything.
In April, the first time the Trump administration had to make a determination on the accord, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the agreement only delayed Iran’s ambitions to gain weapons of mass destruction.
Crone thinks that banks are worried about Venmo’s ambitions.
The gray area is as vast as Blazer’s personality, ambition, beard and belly.
The bridge scandal tarred Christie’s reputation and dealt a serious blow to his presidential ambitions.
The key to the Perlan 2’s ambitions are the mountain waves, which occur when strong gusts of wind hit the face of a mountain and rise over it, like the water in a stream flowing over a rock near the surface.
For some three years, their ability to control these two urban centers, particularly Mosul, served as warped validation of their ambitions to build a modern-day caliphate.
Coyne took Bourdais’ ambition as an excellent sign of his driver’s mental state.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ambition.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
ambition Has Roots in Roman Politics
When candidates for public office in ancient Rome wanted to be elected, they had to do just what modern candidates must do. They had to spend most of their time going around the city urging the citizens to vote for them. The Latin word for this effort was ambitio, which came from ambire, a verb meaning “to go around.” Since this activity was caused by a desire for honor or power, the word eventually came to mean “the desire for honor or power.” This word came into French and English as ambition in the late Middle Ages. Later its meaning broadened to include “an admirable desire for advancement or improvement” and still later “the object of this desire.”
Origin and Etymology of ambition
Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin ambition-, ambitio, literally, act of soliciting for votes, from ambire to go around, solicit
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of ambition
Definition of ambition
: to have as one's ambition : desire
AMBITION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ambition for English Language Learners
: a particular goal or aim : something that a person hopes to do or achieve
: a desire to be successful, powerful, or famous
: a desire to do things and be active
AMBITION Defined for Kids
Definition of ambition for Students
1 : a desire for success, honor, or power
2 : something a person hopes to do or achieve My ambition is to become a jet pilot.
3 : the drive to do things and be active I'm tired and have no ambition.
History for ambition
Like the candidates of today, some men ran for public office in ancient Rome by going around and asking people to vote for them. The Latin word for this practice, ambitio, came from a verb meaning “to go around.” Since looking for votes showed “a desire for power or honor,” the Latin word took on that meaning. The English word ambition came from the Latin word.
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