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 ambulatory (audio) \ adverb

Examples of ambulatory in a Sentence

Adjective ambulatory theatrical companies that brought live theater to small towns across America
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Those with ambulatory impairments might also choose a slower walking speed to manage transfers but such an option can also favor anyone simply seeking a more relaxed journey. Gus Alexiou, Forbes, 23 May 2021 Chloe's an ambulatory wheelchair user now — like so many Americans and Canadians — who's able to get out of her chair and walk through the metal detector that separates her from Diane's institutional hospital bed. Rosie Knight,, 3 Apr. 2021 Tenet Healthcare, a for-profit chain that received more than $500 million in federal aid, announced a $1 billion purchase of 45 ambulatory surgery centers last December. New York Times, 21 May 2021 However, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) were not eligible for these incentives. Gavin Fabian, Forbes, 19 May 2021 The Heat need to be in win-now mode, and that means that the earners have to be ambulatory. Ira Winderman,, 15 May 2021 Modern surgical techniques using only local anesthesia and microincisions that don’t even require stitches are often ambulatory procedures, meaning patients can go home the same day. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 29 Apr. 2021 University of Utah Health has appointments to give the J&J vaccine to about 400 patients this week, said Dr. Richard Orlandi, the U.’s associate chief medical officer for ambulatory health. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Apr. 2021 When the transaction is completed, the USPI business will include a total of 310 ambulatory surgical facilities in 33 states. Dom Difurio, Dallas News, 10 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Last week, the pediatric ambulatory department at Boston Medical Center, which treats nearly 15,000 children, began sending vaccination mobile units into city neighborhoods. Jan Hoffman, New York Times, 23 Apr. 2020 The site is Virtua’s third ambulatory COVID-19 testing site beyond its testing at its five hospitals and seven emergency rooms in South Jersey. David Levinsky, USA TODAY, 22 Apr. 2020 Patients who are ambulatory and can walk themselves will naturally need a different level of attention than someone who is in critical care. Rob Verger, Popular Science, 14 Apr. 2020 The most common type of disability was ambulatory at 7.9%, where people have difficulty performing activities such as walking or climbing stairs. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, 18 Jan. 2020 Its argument was that the nine ambulatory surgery centers already in Northern Kentucky had plenty of capacity. Anne Saker,, 26 Nov. 2019 Newton-Wellesley also runs a 10-year-old breast-feeding support group that meets at its nearby ambulatory care center. John Laidler,, 31 July 2019 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, 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, 16 Apr. 2019

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


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ambulatory


borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French ambulatoire "movable, without fixed residence," borrowed from Latin ambulātōrius "movable, transferable, suitable for walking," from ambulāre "to go by foot, walk for pleasure or health, travel" + -tōrius, deverbal adjective suffix originally forming derivatives from agent nouns ending in -tōr-, -tor; (sense 1b) after German ambulatorisch — more at amble entry 1


earlier ameltori, amlatorye, borrowed from Medieval Latin ambulātōrium, noun derivative from neuter of Latin ambulātōrius "movable, suitable for walking" ambulatory entry 1

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Time Traveler for ambulatory

Time Traveler

The first known use of ambulatory was in the 15th century

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Statistics for ambulatory

Last Updated

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ambulatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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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 ambulatory (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

More from Merriam-Webster on ambulatory

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ambulatory

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


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