noun am·bi·tion \am-ˈbi-shən\

: a particular goal or aim : something that a person hopes to do or achieve

: a desire to be successful, powerful, or famous

: a desire to do things and be active

Full Definition of AMBITION

a :  an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power
b :  desire to achieve a particular end
:  the object of ambition <her ambition is to start her own business>
:  a desire for activity or exertion <felt sick and had no ambition>
am·bi·tion·less \-ləs\ adjective

Origin of AMBITION

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin ambition-, ambitio, literally, act of soliciting for votes, from ambire
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of AMBITION

ambition, aspiration, pretension mean strong desire for advancement. ambition applies to the desire for personal advancement or preferment and may suggest equally a praiseworthy or an inordinate desire <driven by ambition>. aspiration implies a striving after something higher than oneself <an aspiration to become president someday>. pretension suggests ardent desire for recognition of accomplishment often without actual possession of the necessary ability and therefore may imply presumption <has literary pretensions>.



Definition of AMBITION

transitive verb
:  to have as one's ambition :  desire

First Known Use of AMBITION

AMBITION Defined for Kids


noun am·bi·tion \am-ˈbi-shən\

Definition of AMBITION for Kids

:  a desire for success, honor, or power
:  something a person hopes to do or achieve <My ambition is to become a jet pilot.>
:  the drive to do things and be active <I'm tired and have no ambition.>

Word History of AMBITION

Like the candidates of today, some men ran for public office in ancient Rome by going around and asking people to vote for them. The Latin word for this practice, ambitio, came from a verb meaning to go around. Since looking for votes showed a desire for power or honor, the Latin word took on that meaning. The English word ambition came from the Latin word.


Next Word in the Dictionary: ambitiousPrevious Word in the Dictionary: ambitAll Words Near: ambition
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears