ambuscade

noun

am·​bus·​cade ˈam-bə-ˌskād How to pronounce ambuscade (audio)
ˌam-bə-ˈskād
: ambush
ambuscade verb
ambuscader noun

Did you know?

The synonym ambush is older by a century, but English made room for ambuscade in the late 16th century anyway. That word was borrowed into English from Middle French, whose speakers had raided Old Italian to get it: the French had made embuscade from imboscata, which was from imboscare, “to place in ambush.” The boscare part of that word is ultimately of Germanic origin, from bosco, meaning “forest.” Evidence of ambush functioning as a verb can be found as far back as the dawn of the 14th century. It arrived not from Middle French (French as spoken in the 14th-16th centuries), but from Anglo-French, the French spoken in medieval England. Its second syllable is from Old French busc, meaning “forest, grove.”

Examples of ambuscade in a Sentence

warned by one of their scouts of an Apache ambuscade, the Comanches took a different path through the mountains

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Middle French emboscade, embuscade, borrowed from Italian imboscata, from imboscare "to hide in a forest or behind vegetation" (from im- im- + -boscare, derivative of bosco "forest," going back —perhaps via Langobardic— to Germanic *boska-/*buska- "bush, thicket") + -ata, suffix of action and result — more at bush entry 1, -ade

Note: For the initial am- in place of em- see note at ambush entry 1.

First Known Use

circa 1588, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ambuscade was circa 1588

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Dictionary Entries Near ambuscade

Cite this Entry

“Ambuscade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ambuscade. Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

ambuscade

noun
am·​bus·​cade ˈam-bə-ˌskād How to pronounce ambuscade (audio)
ˌam-bə-ˈskād
ambuscade verb
ambuscader noun

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