am·​bi·​tious | \ am-ˈbi-shəs How to pronounce ambitious (audio) \

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web But the purpose of the movie is also to introduce the elements that Marvel needs to set up stories that can be as ambitious as Avengers: Endgame. Chris Smith, BGR, 14 May 2022 Compared to that of other states, New York’s climate policy is relatively ambitious. Raina Lipsitz, The New Republic, 5 May 2022 What's more, Whoop’s sleep prescriptions were often overly ambitious. Corey Gaskin, Ars Technica, 30 Apr. 2022 High overshoot scenarios are also far less ambitious in the short-term, relying on large amounts of negative emissions later in the 21st century to offset earlier emissions. David Carlin, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 The goal is certainly ambitious since current VR headsets can have a variety of limitations, including short battery life or a need to tether themselves to a PC. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 28 Apr. 2022 Zink’s book is ambitious in its refusal to accede to recognizable ambitions; but once again, for this reader, the question of what’s at stake resoundingly recurs. Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 This book is unabashedly ambitious, but Gyasi nails it. The Week Staff, The Week, 25 Apr. 2022 Though the desert city allows property owners to offer short-term rentals, its enforcement mechanism is more ambitious than in many municipalities. Hugo Martínstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of ambitious

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

History and Etymology for ambitious

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

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

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ambitious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ambitious


am·​bi·​tious | \ am-ˈbi-shəs How to pronounce ambitious (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ambitious

Nglish: Translation of ambitious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ambitious for Arabic Speakers


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