• (America) IPA: /æmˈbɪ.ʃən/


  1. (uncountable, countable) Eager or inordinate desire for some object that confers distinction, as preferment, honor, superiority, political power, or literary fame; desire to distinguish one's self from other people.
    My son, John, wants to be a firefighter very much. He has a lot of ambition.
    • the pitiful ambition of possessing five or six thousand more acres
  2. (countable) An object of an ardent desire.
    My ambition is to own a helicopter.
  3. A desire, as in (sense 1), for another person to achieve these things.
  4. (uncountable) A personal quality similar to motivation, not necessarily tied to a single goal.
  5. (obsolete) The act of going about to solicit or obtain an office, or any other object of desire; canvassing.
    • 1671, John Milton, “Samson Agonistes, […]”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], OCLC 228732398 ↗, [{}/mode/1up page 22]:
      I on th' other ſide / Us'd no ambition to commend my deeds,
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ambition (ambitions, present participle ambitioning; past and past participle ambitioned)

  1. To seek after ambitiously or eagerly; to covet.
    Pausanias, ambitioning the sovereignty of Greece, bargains with Xerxes for his daughter in marriage. — Trumbull.

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