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

Adjective ambulatory theatrical companies that brought live theater to small towns across America
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Some of these surgeries may be rescheduled at the nonprofit system’s New Braunfels and San Marcos locations as well as ambulatory surgery centers, which is allowed under Abbott’s order. Laura Garcia,, "Major San Antonio hospitals say they’re ready for new elective surgery ban," 26 June 2020 On Sunday nights at 8 o’clock, ambulatory kids, nannies, and workers from other floors gathered to watch Dallas together. Melissa Fay Greene, The Atlantic, "Can an Unloved Child Learn to Love?," 18 June 2020 In other nursing homes, staff members have reported stricter isolation measures that have confined non-ambulatory residents to their rooms, with little reprieve or social contact, since March. Rebecca Renner, National Geographic, "How to beat loneliness during a pandemic? LGBTQ elders lend their wisdom," 17 June 2020 Its ambulatory surgery center in Greenfield opened this week and now is doing about 50 surgeries a day. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "It's time to start getting the health care you need, even if you have been putting it off because of COVID-19, health systems say," 7 May 2020 That decision has financially hit hospitals, which make much of their revenue from outpatient, elective, and ambulatory surgeries. Elizabeth Earl, Anchorage Daily News, "UAA graduates some nursing students early so they can help out during pandemic," 30 Apr. 2020 Phase 1 will focus on gradual reopening of health care services, including reopening diagnostic radiology and non-urgent, emergent in-person office and ambulatory visits. Sarah Brookbank,, "What's opening in phase 1, DeWine condemns Nazi comparison on Twitter, Ohio coronavirus map, Kroger testing," 23 Apr. 2020 Recently, Stanford Medicine's health care delivery system conducted approximately 3,000 ambulatory video visits in a single day—a 50-fold increase over our baseline rate. Fortune, "Dean of Stanford Medicine: How virtual care can make medicine even more human," 10 Apr. 2020 Of this group, 24.4% have an ambulatory disability, and 813,000 people ages 5 to 64 have a similar disability. David Buice, Dallas News, "This nonprofit helps elderly and disabled Texans take back their mobility, one ramp at a time," 18 Dec. 2019 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, "Vaccine Rates Drop Dangerously as Parents Avoid Doctor’s Visits," 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, "Virtua tests about 100 for coronavirus on first day at Willingboro site," 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, "First mission for the Air Force’s flying hospital pods: Pulling COVID-19 patients from Afghanistan," 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, "Michigan board was mysteriously abolished — and he's fighting to bring it back," 18 Jan. 2020 Its argument was that the nine ambulatory surgery centers already in Northern Kentucky had plenty of capacity. Anne Saker,, "Christ Hospital walks away from all its plans at Drawbridge Inn in Fort Mitchell," 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,, "Newton-Wellesley hospital installs ‘pod’ for breast-feeding women," 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, "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

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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Time Traveler for ambulatory

Time Traveler

The first known use of ambulatory was in 1598

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Statistics for ambulatory

Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ambulatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ambulatory

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ambulatory

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

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