am·​bu·​la·​to·​ry | \ ˈam-byə-lə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce ambulatory (audio) \

Definition of ambulatory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : able to walk about and not bedridden ambulatory patients
b : performed on or involving an ambulatory patient or an outpatient ambulatory medical care an ambulatory electrocardiogram
2 : of, relating to, or adapted to walking ambulatory exercise also : occurring during a walk an ambulatory conversation
3 : moving from place to place : itinerant for years led an ambulatory life
4 law : capable of being altered a will is ambulatory until the testator's death


plural ambulatories

Definition of ambulatory (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sheltered place (as in a cloister or church) for walking

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Other Words from ambulatory


ambulatorily \ ˌam-​byə-​lə-​ˈtȯr-​ə-​lē How to pronounce ambulatorily (audio) \ adverb

Examples of ambulatory in a Sentence


ambulatory theatrical companies that brought live theater to small towns across America

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Optum is made up of a physicians group, ambulatory surgery centers and urgent care centers. John Aguilar, The Denver Post, "FTC signs off on $4.3 billion acquisition of Denver-based DaVita’s medical group," 19 June 2019 Both equity investors and companies in the business of keeping retail zombies in an ambulatory state are asking themselves who might be next. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "Why Sears Is Spooking Investors," 10 Oct. 2018 The average length of shortages for drugs used in ambulatory medicine is more than seven months, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Brian Krans, Fox News, "Drug shortages in ER are more common than you think," 22 July 2018 In fact, much has been written about the barriers people who use wheelchairs face when traveling, from damage to their wheelchairs to the judgment and mistreatment ambulatory wheelchair users have reported. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "Nyle DiMarco Said an Airline Gave Him a Wheelchair After a Flight Seemingly Because He's Deaf," 20 Dec. 2018 Tenet, like other hospital owners, is also under pressure as more medical care moves to less-costly clinics and ambulatory-surgery centers. Melanie Evans, WSJ, "UnitedHealth Is Among Suitors Circling Tenet’s Conifer Business," 18 July 2018 All hospitals have higher costs than ambulatory surgical centers and independently owned imaging centers because hospitals must operate around the clock. WSJ, "On Paying Too Much to Bend the Knee Again," 27 Aug. 2018 Dental, vision, and mental care will be covered, as will inpatient care, outpatient care, primary care, preventative care, palliative care, ambulatory care, emergency care, maternal care, and newborn care. Tim Higginbotham And Chris Middleman, Vox, "“Medicare-for-all” means something. Don’t let moderates water it down.," 13 July 2018 Other facilities: Six ambulatory care facilities around Greater Cincinnati, a new hospital this year in Butler County. Anne Saker,, "Mike Keating stepping down this year as president and CEO of the Christ Hospital," 21 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many of those patients are non-ambulatory, have seizure disorders, behavior problems, mental illness, visual or hearing impairments, or a combination and all must qualify financially for Medicaid assistance. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "Hacienda HealthCare to lose Medicaid contract after report of maggots found on patient," 20 June 2019 Construction on the cathedral began in 1160 under France's Bishop Maurice de Sully, beginning with the church's choir and ambulatories, at the end of the structure close to the altar. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Notre Dame: An In-Depth Look at What Was Lost and What it Will Take to Rebuild," 16 Apr. 2019 Shares of Envision, which also provides post-acute care and ambulatory-surgery services, have fallen 23% over the past year amid questions about its billing for emergency services and disappointing performance. Aisha Al-muslim, WSJ, "KKR to Acquire Envision Healthcare for $5.5 Billion," 11 June 2018 Under Johnson’s watch, Ingalls developed a network of ambulatory care centers in Calumet City, Crestwood, Flossmoor, South Holland and Tinley Park, and starting in 2015 led Ingalls to pursue a combination with University of Chicago Medicine. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Ingalls Hospital president to retire," 9 June 2018 In an ambulatory setting, the total cost of Essure procedures was found to be $1,287 per case and laparoscopic procedures $1,398 per case, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, "Essure or surgery? New study compares contraceptive risks," 13 Mar. 2018 For example, Ohio could choose the ambulatory care standards from one benchmark plan and the preventive services from another. Washington Post, "The Health 202: The Trump administration is giving states another way around Obamacare regulations," 7 Feb. 2018 Gonnelli was the developer for LourdesCare at Cherry Hill, a 55,000 square-foot ambulatory care center. Harold Brubaker,, "Lourdes owner files counterclaim against Cooper," 7 Feb. 2018 UnitedHealth has said Optum aims to provide primary care and ambulatory services in 75 markets, representing about two-thirds of the U.S. population. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, "UnitedHealth to Buy Large Doctor Group for $4.9 Billion," 6 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ambulatory.' 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 ambulatory


1598, in the meaning defined at sense 2


circa 1616, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ambulatory


see ambulate


see ambulate

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Statistics for ambulatory

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ambulatory

The first known use of ambulatory was in 1598

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More Definitions for ambulatory


am·​bu·​la·​to·​ry | \ ˈam-byə-lə-ˌtōr-ē, -ˌtȯr- How to pronounce ambulatory (audio) \

Medical Definition of ambulatory

1 : of, relating to, or adapted to walking ambulatory exercise
2a : able to walk about and not bedridden an ambulatory patient All patients were ambulatory before hip fracture.— Karim Anton Calis and Frank Pucino, The New England Journal of Medicine, 1 Nov. 2007
b : performed on or involving a patient who is able to walk about Some patients report that ambulatory oxygen therapy helps relieve exercise-related breathlessness.— Dennis E. Niewoehner, The New England Journal of Medicine, 15 Apr. 2010
c : performed on or provided to an outpatient ambulatory care Ambulatory surgical procedures have proliferated in recent years as a result of increases in the cost of inpatient health services.— Mark A. Warner et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association, 22 Sept. 1993 also : relating to or intended for outpatient care ambulatory surgery centers
d : performed on or worn by a patient during the course of normal daily activities (such as working and sleeping) Rather than treat all patients on the basis of office blood pressure readings, some clinicians … maintain that certain patients should first be fitted with ambulatory blood pressure monitors that automatically record their blood pressure every 15 minutes or so throughout the day and night.— Jane E. Brody, The New York Times, 28 Nov. 1995 also : obtained by ambulatory monitoring 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure

Other Words from ambulatory

ambulatorily \ ˌam-​byə-​lə-​ˈtōr-​ə-​lē, -​ˈtȯr-​ How to pronounce ambulatorily (audio) \ adverb
a patient treated ambulatorily


am·​bu·​la·​to·​ry | \ ˈam-byə-lə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce ambulatory (audio) \

Legal Definition of ambulatory

: capable of being altered a will is ambulatory until the testator's death

History and Etymology for ambulatory

Latin ambulatorius, literally, movable, transferable, from ambulare to walk, move, be transferred

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More from Merriam-Webster on ambulatory

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ambulatory

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ambulatory

Britannica English: Translation of ambulatory for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ambulatory

Comments on ambulatory

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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