AskDefine | Define ambition

Dictionary Definition



1 a cherished desire; "his ambition is to own his own business" [syn: aspiration, dream]
2 a strong drive for success [syn: ambitiousness] v : have as one's ambition

User Contributed Dictionary



French ambition, Latin ambitio a going around, especially of candidates for office is Rome, to solicit votes (hence, desire for office or honor?) from ambire to go around. See ambient, issue.


IPA: WEAE /æmˈbɪ.ʃən/


  1. An eager, and sometimes an inordinate, desire for preferment, honor, superiority, power, or the attainment of something. (material copied from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913))
  2. A desire, as in (1), for another person to achieve these things.
  3. The purported pathway to a chosen career.
  4. A personal quality similar to motivation, not necessarily tied to a single goal.
  5. A four-player card game of tricks played mainly in North America, Europe, and Japan.

Related terms



“I said that he was my superior in observation and deduction. If the art of the detective began and ended in reasoning from an arm-chair, my brother would be the greatest criminal agent that ever lived. But he has no ambition and no energy. He will not even go out of his way to verify his own solution, and would rather be considered wrong than take the trouble to prove himself right. Again and again I have taken a problem to him, and have received an explanation which has afterwards proved to be the correct one. And yet he was absolutely incapable of working out the practical points which must be gone into before a case could be laid before a judge or jury.” —Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Greek Interpreter
“I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself, And falls on the other.” —Macbeth in Shakespeare's MacBeth




Extensive Definition

Ambition could refer to one of the following:
ambition in French: Ambition
ambition in Portuguese: Ambição
ambition in Russian: Амбиции

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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