am·​bi·​tious | \am-ˈbi-shəs \

Definition of ambitious 

1a : having or controlled by ambition : having a desire to be successful, powerful, or famous an ambitious young executive

b : having a desire to achieve a particular goal : aspiring ambitious for power

2 : resulting from, characterized by, or showing ambition an ambitious film

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Other Words from ambitious

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Valve’s been dialing back its once-ambitious hardware push for a while. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Valve's Steam Link is dead, and that sucks," 20 Nov. 2018 And offering some kind of road map to retirement would calm the restiveness among ambitious members who are pushed to either rebel or leave the House. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "House Democrats don’t need a leader, they need someone to represent them on TV," 20 Nov. 2018 Adventure Asia: Wild FrontiersGo deep with this ambitious 32-day circuit that includes biking in Thailand and kayaking in Cambodia, with plenty of spa time built in to the itinerary. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Four Adventure Itineraries to Book in Southeast Asia," 14 Nov. 2018 This seems especially ambitious, as the Proton, which has had reliability problems in recent years, has averaged fewer than three flights a year since the beginning of 2016. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Russian space leader suggests engineers test spacecraft Stalin’s way," 13 Nov. 2018 Add it all up and Democrats are now in a position both to slow down Trump’s anti-environmental initiatives at the federal level and to accelerate the blossoming of ambitious state energy policy. David Roberts, Vox, "After the midterms, US climate politics are even more polarized. Here’s how Dems can move forward.," 12 Nov. 2018 Back in March, the FCC approved SpaceX’s license for the first phase of its ambitious Starlink initiative — the company’s long-term plan to launch nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit to beam internet coverage down to Earth. Loren Grush, The Verge, "SpaceX wants to fly some internet satellites closer to Earth to cut down on space trash," 9 Nov. 2018 Bold and ambitious, Aries dives headfirst into even the most challenging situations. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "Each Zodiac Sign's Unique Personality Traits, Explained by an Astrologer," 28 Oct. 2018 Sprites are also key to another ambitious endeavor, Breakthrough Starshot. Steve Nadis, Discover Magazine, "The Tiny Satellites That Might Fly to Another Solar System," 18 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ambitious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ambitious

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

History and Etymology for ambitious

see ambition entry 1

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Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

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

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English Language Learners Definition of ambitious

: having ambition : having a desire to be successful, powerful, or famous

: not easily done or achieved : requiring or showing ambition


am·​bi·​tious | \am-ˈbi-shəs \

Kids Definition of ambitious

1 : possessing a desire for success, honor, or power

2 : not easily done or achieved She has an ambitious plan to become a doctor.

Other Words from ambitious

ambitiously adverb

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Comments on ambitious

What made you want to look up ambitious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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