Definition of ambition in English:

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Pronunciation: /amˈbiSH(ə)n/


1A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work: her ambition was to become a model he achieved his ambition of making a fortune
More example sentences
  • Hughes won the affection of many viewers in the original programme when he set out his ambitions in life.
  • Not so long ago he was watching telly with his eldest daughter, Lois, who has ambitions to be an actor.
  • If we work together we can realise these ambitions - we can make Scotland a better place.
aspiration, intention, goal, aim, objective, object, purpose, intent, plan, desire, wish, design, target, dream
1.1Desire and determination to achieve success: life offered few opportunities for young people with ambition
More example sentences
  • He's been good at everything he's turned his hand to because of his determination and ambition.
  • Unlike world leaders she was not driven by raging ambition or a desire to improve society.
  • Julie's success is based on driving ambition, a deprived childhood and hard graft.
drive, determination, enterprise, initiative, eagerness, motivation, resolve, enthusiasm, zeal, hunger, commitment, a sense of purpose
informal get-up-and-go


Middle English: via Old French from Latin ambitio(n-), from ambire 'go around (canvassing for votes)'.

  • Ambition comes from Latin ambire, literally meaning ‘to go round or go about’ (also the source of late 16th-century ambient), but with the more specific sense of ‘to go round canvassing for votes’. From this developed the idea of eagerly seeking honour or advancement.

Words that rhyme with ambition

academician, addition, aesthetician (US esthetician), audition, beautician, clinician, coition, cosmetician, diagnostician, dialectician, dietitian, Domitian, edition, electrician, emission, fission, fruition, Hermitian, ignition, linguistician, logician, magician, mathematician, Mauritian, mechanician, metaphysician, mission, monition, mortician, munition, musician, obstetrician, omission, optician, paediatrician (US pediatrician), patrician, petition, Phoenician, physician, politician, position, rhetorician, sedition, statistician, suspicion, tactician, technician, theoretician, Titian, tuition, volition

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: am·bi·tion

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