ambush

verb
am·bush | \ˈam-ˌbu̇sh \
ambushed; ambushing; ambushes

Definition of ambush 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to attack by surprise from a hidden place : waylay Our troops ambushed the enemy units. … his caravan that season had been ambushed and shot at twice on the way down …— Rudyard Kipling

2 : to station in ambush (see ambush entry 2 sense 1) Mr and Mrs Fyne ambushed at their window—a most incredible occupation for people of their kind—saw with renewed anxiety a cab come to the door.— Joseph Conrad

intransitive verb

: to lie in wait : lurk

ambush

noun
plural ambushes

Definition of ambush (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a trap in which concealed persons lie in wait to attack by surprise

2 : the persons stationed in ambush also : their concealed position Terrorists lay in ambush.

3 : an attack especially from an ambush The ambush resulted in many casualties.

4 : the act of approaching or confronting someone with something unexpected often used before another noun ambush journalism… did not return calls or e-mails and was hostile when a television crew conducted an ambush interview several years ago.— Neely Tucker

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Other Words from ambush

Verb

ambusher noun
ambushment \-mənt \ noun

Synonyms for ambush

Synonyms: Verb

surprise (also surprize), waylay

Synonyms: Noun

net, snare, trap, web

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Examples of ambush in a Sentence

Verb

We have reports of enemy soldiers ambushing civilians on this road. the king's enemies planned to ambush the royal coach on the way to Paris and capture the king

Noun

Many soldiers were killed in the ambush. The soldiers were lying in ambush, waiting for the enemy to approach. a snake waiting in ambush for its next meal
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Earlier, Reyes ambushed Daniel Hudson’s first-pitch slider for a single. Jeff Sanders, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Padres' Franmil Reyes savoring teachable moments," 13 July 2018 In northern Iraq, meanwhile, Islamic State has carried out a spate of attacks, from abducting shepherds to ambushing and killing truck drivers belonging to pro-government tribes. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "ISIS Remnants Fight On, Despite U.S. Campaign," 9 July 2018 Thrillingly, it gets trampled—ambushed—by the riff. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "What Lives in Kanye West’s ‘Ghost Town’," 14 June 2018 On April 30, 1967, shortly after Hackett had signed up for his second tour in Vietnam, his unit was ambushed by more than 75 camouflaged North Vietnamese troops who were firing down from bunkers with weapons that included a .50-caliber machine gun. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "The Untold Story of Robert Mueller's Time in Combat," 15 May 2018 The insurgents ambushed the police vehicle and fired RPGs. New York Times, cleveland.com, "Trump should win Nobel Peace Prize, says South Korea president," 30 Apr. 2018 Things take a turn for the worse when the crew finds themselves in an alarming shootout as an imminent drug deal was ambushed by members of law enforcement. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Migos Morph Into Drug Dealers for Cinematic 'Narcos' Video: Watch," 27 June 2018 The full arrest warrant against Dedrick Williams alleges that the 22-year-old Pompano Beach man ambushed rapper XXXTentacion outside a Deerfield Beach motorcycle shop and shot him to death. David Schutz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Read details of the charges against Dedrick Williams, accused of killing rapper XXXTentacion," 26 June 2018 The New Generation cartel is considered one of the country's most powerful, turning heads after shooting down an army helicopter, ambushing police officers and attempting to intimidate a former attorney general by sending him a pig's head. Eli Rosenberg, chicagotribune.com, "Mexican YouTube rapper melted bodies of slain film students in acid for cartel, officials say," 28 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In fact his war had been in the Auvergne, running guns and laying ambushes with the Resistance, while his family moved carefully in and out of hiding. The Economist, "Claude Lanzmann died on July 5th," 12 July 2018 Trump’s ambush jolted the transatlantic alliance, and some diplomats perceived his comments as threatening a U.S. withdrawal from NATO. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Senate rebuke of Trump tariffs won't actually change anything," 12 July 2018 Drug gangs have mounted complex ambushes against military patrols, kidnapped and beheaded soldiers, and even shot down a pair of helicopters. Steve Fisher, latimes.com, "Mexico sent in the army to fight the drug war. Many question the toll on society and the army itself," 18 June 2018 Rozsa-Flores always denied this, claiming the young Swiss reporter was killed in an enemy ambush. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Chris the Swiss': Film Review | Cannes 2018," 22 May 2018 The ambush will inject new stress on the U.S. military’s plans to place conventional military advisers from the brigade in closer proximity to Afghan troops than the Pentagon has done in years. Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, "U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan was supporting the Army’s new adviser brigade," 8 July 2018 The alleged gator ambush happened just before 10 a.m. Friday. CBS News, "Woman missing after reported alligator attack in Florida," 8 June 2018 In October, an ambush in Niger killed four American soldiers, their interpreter and four Nigerien troops. New York Times, "1 U.S. Soldier Is Killed and 4 Are Wounded in Somalia Firefight," 8 June 2018 For decades after the regime’s fall, ambushes by vestigial Khmer Rouge squads and other guerrillas were a regular menace on Cambodia’s train lines. Eli Meixler / Phnom Penh, Time, "Riding the Rails: Phnom Penh's Airport Train Is a Milestone for Cambodia," 4 June 2018

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ambush

Verb

Middle English embushen, from Anglo-French embuscher, from en in (from Latin in) + busche log, firewood

Noun

see ambush entry 1

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Statistics for ambush

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ambush

The first known use of ambush was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ambush

ambush

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ambush

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to attack (someone or something) by surprise from a hidden place

ambush

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ambush (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of hiding, waiting for others to appear, and then suddenly attacking them : a surprise attack

: a hidden place from which a surprise attack can be made

ambush

verb
am·bush | \ˈam-ˌbu̇sh \
ambushed; ambushing

Kids Definition of ambush

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to attack by surprise from a hidden place

ambush

noun

Kids Definition of ambush (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a hidden place from which a surprise attack can be made

2 : a surprise attack made from a hidden place

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Comments on ambush

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