am·​bi·​tious am-ˈbi-shəs How to pronounce ambitious (audio)
: having or controlled by ambition : having a desire to be successful, powerful, or famous
an ambitious young executive
: having a desire to achieve a particular goal : aspiring
ambitious for power
: resulting from, characterized by, or showing ambition
an ambitious film
ambitiously adverb
ambitiousness noun

Examples of ambitious in a Sentence

The company was created by two very ambitious young men in the early 1900s. This 500-page book is her most ambitious effort yet. Your plans for the future are very ambitious. It was too ambitious a task for just one person.
Recent Examples on the Web Ronson connected with Lipa for the ambitious Barbie soundtrack via Instagram DMs, pitching her on crafting one of the film’s two most pivotal musical numbers. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 4 Dec. 2023 Shell Oil dropped an ambitious initiative to build a pipeline of carbon credits through investment in forest preservation and other carbon-absorbing projects worldwide. Evan Halper, Washington Post, 3 Dec. 2023 The business was part of an ambitious international expansion plan, launched by Jensen, to take Viaplay global with a focus on high-end original drama and top-notch live sports. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Dec. 2023 These management positions will not only bring sophistication and breadth to our rapid-response operation but also facilitate our writers’ growth and professional development, coaching reporters of all experience levels on how to stretch and produce ever more ambitious work. Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2023 Inspired by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, the piece is part of JR’s ambitious Chronicles series that imagines how an entire city can be represented through art. Erica Wertheim Zohar, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 The couple quickly became inseparable — beautiful, ambitious and creative, madly in love in a country under daily attack. Serhii Korolchuk, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2023 The company is also unusually ambitious and saw its role as building a digital superintelligence that would eventually become more powerful than humans. Kevin Roose, New York Times, 21 Nov. 2023 For Season 4, released in 2020, Hawley reached further into the past than ever before to stage an ambitious, if flawed, take on race, immigration and the American national character. Alison Herman, Variety, 21 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ambitious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English ambicious "overweening, craving," borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French ambicieus "striving for success, seeking glory," borrowed from Latin ambitiōsus "anxious to win favor, eager for advancement," from ambitiō "act of soliciting for votes, desire for advancement" + -ōsus -ous — more at ambition entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of ambitious was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near ambitious

Cite this Entry

“Ambitious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


am·​bi·​tious am-ˈbish-əs How to pronounce ambitious (audio)
: controlled by or having ambition
ambitious to be captain of the team
: showing ambition
an ambitious plan
ambitiously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ambitious

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