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 The seven bills are more ambitious, applying across major industries and targeting discrimination, one of the technology's most perverse and complex problems. CBS News, 24 May 2024 The ambitious plan continues to move forward, but shows the difficulty in producing affordable housing. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for ambitious 

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 29 May. 2024.

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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