ambitious

adjective

am·​bi·​tious am-ˈbi-shəs How to pronounce ambitious (audio)
1
a
: 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
ambitiously adverb
ambitiousness noun

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Example Sentences

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 Your sign is known for being ambitious, but that aspect is finally being truly highlighted for you, Capricorn. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 25 Sep. 2022 Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Andy Cochrane, Outside Online, 21 Sep. 2022 Barbara's classroom is more homey, Janine's is a bit more ambitious, Jacob's is covered in Black history. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 20 Sep. 2022 What has made America great is ambitious, hardworking people going to extraordinary lengths to get here then contributing disproportionately to the nation’s economic might. Michael Taylor, San Antonio Express-News, 31 Aug. 2022 Frankfurter was ambitious to a fault with strains of narcissism. John Fabian Witt, The New Republic, 26 Aug. 2022 General Motors announced its own phasing out of gasoline fueled cars by 2035, and Chrysler is even more ambitious, targeting 2028. Peter Vanham, Fortune, 26 Aug. 2022 Hixson said previous plans to upgrade the airport might have been too ambitious, noting that part of the previous project included a three-story glass building. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Aug. 2022 Artemis II and Artemis III missions are even more ambitious and will eventually lead to human boots back on the lunar surface. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 23 Aug. 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.

Word History

Etymology

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ambitious. Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition

ambitious

adjective

am·​bi·​tious am-ˈbi-shəs How to pronounce ambitious (audio)
1
: possessing a desire for success, honor, or power
2
: not easily done or achieved
She has an ambitious plan to become a doctor.
ambitiously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ambitious

Last Updated: 28 Sep 2022

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