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

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 Sweeney also had a 28-06 throw in the ambulatory shot put. Reports, al, 5 May 2022 TriHealth, one of the region's largest health systems, is planning to open a $30 million ambulatory medical campus in Springfield Township, a move that's expected to bring 120 health care and support staff jobs, officials said. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 4 Mar. 2022 OrthoIllinois officials will appear before the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board Tuesday, Oct. 26, to request a Certificate of Need application for OrthoIllinois Surgery Center Elgin, an ambulatory surgical center. Gloria Casas,, 15 Oct. 2021 Because Braid’s clinic is now an ambulatory surgical center, Kleinfeld said, high-risk pregnancy doctors in the area can refer patients to him. Washington Post, 25 Sep. 2021 In addition, especially early in the pandemic, transport delays prevented many tests from rural hospitals and ambulatory clinics from reaching the clinical laboratories in a timely fashion, prolonging wait times for Covid test results. Emily E. Volk, CNN, 10 Jan. 2022 The action is also likely to become an issue when the physician applies for malpractice insurance, seeks to be re-credentialed by insurers, or applies for privileges at another hospital or ambulatory care facility. Daniel B. Frier, STAT, 28 Feb. 2022 Middlesex Hospital similarly closed its hospital and outpatient and ambulatory locations to visitors, with limited exceptions, on Dec. 31. Eliza Fawcett,, 4 Jan. 2022 All the residents appeared to be ambulatory and were able to evacuate on their own, with the exception of the one man who was injured, Hill said. Andres Picon, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The recommendations also call for closing the Cleveland VA Medical Center satellite ambulatory surgical center on Superior Avenue. Julie Washington, cleveland, 17 Mar. 2022 Just the opposite: a respiratory-borne virus is more easily transmitted by an ambulatory, socially interactive host. Donald S. Burke, STAT, 18 Feb. 2022 Employees from Central EMS, a Roswell ambulatory service, happened upon the scene and rescued the passenger from the burning vehicle before police showed up, according to the news release. Matt Bruce, ajc, 1 Jan. 2022 Bob oversees all hospital, ambulatory, and retail operations in this full continuum of care delivery system with annual revenues of $7 billion and 33,000 team members. Ellevate, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 Like similar agencies across the country, Seminole Fire Department has been impacted by high-call volumes and ambulatory transports related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Martin E. Comas,, 24 Sep. 2021 Buccal fat removal is typically performed in a hospital, a licensed ambulatory surgery setting, or an in-office procedure room. Colleen Murphy,, 14 Sep. 2021 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 See More

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.

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" — more at ambulatory entry 1

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

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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ambulatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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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
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
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 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 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

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


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