Definition of ambition in English:



  • 1A strong desire to do or achieve something.

    ‘her ambition was to become a pilot’
    ‘he achieved his ambition of making a fortune’
    • ‘All of this occurs amid speculation about her own presidential ambitions.’
    • ‘Land-hungry settlers viewed the royal government as an obstacle to their ambitions.’
    • ‘For a man whose ambition had always been to farm, he has no regrets about his change of career.’
    • ‘The desire for weed-free fields is not an evil ambition.’
    • ‘The storytelling ambitions of the two paintings are entirely interchangeable.’
    • ‘If anything, Allan and his management team have had to rein in their ambitions.’
    • ‘His ambition of becoming Prime Minister was dashed forever.’
    • ‘Noble ideas about feeding the world are being used to cloak ambitions of economic dominance.’
    • ‘Andrews just hopes their ambitions tally with his own and those of his boss.’
    • ‘The single abiding ambition of my life was to be as good a father as I could.’
    • ‘Her ambition was to work in the field of astrophysics.’
    • ‘Now, if I get some MP to sign a letter, it feels like I've achieved my life's ambition.’
    • ‘Matt left his native Birmingham a year ago to pursue his ambition of being part of a band.’
    • ‘Hughes won the affection of many viewers in the original programme when he set out his ambitions in life.’
    • ‘By the age of 14 she had two ambitions: to join the army and to compete in the Olympics.’
    • ‘Not so long ago he was watching telly with his eldest daughter, Lois, who has ambitions to be an actor.’
    • ‘Constable died in 1837 feeling that his ambitions had not been realized.’
    • ‘He and Graham Gordon, another young Scot soon to join the paid ranks, have big ambitions.’
    • ‘The firm harbours ambitions to build a major annual event around St Andrew's Day.’
    • ‘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, scheme, mission, calling, vocation, desire, wish, design, target, end, dream, hope
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    1. 1.1[mass noun]Desire and determination to achieve success.
      ‘young men and women with ambition’
      • ‘Goneril and Regan, consumed by ambition, divide the kingdom in half.’
      • ‘Julie's success is based on driving ambition, a deprived childhood and hard graft.’
      • ‘In a book of such ambition, there will be much with which to quibble.’
      • ‘His energy and ambition are astonishing, yet he emerges from this exhibit as a secondary, if engaging, figure.’
      • ‘He now has a job, home and family and has developed into a responsible, caring father with ambition.’
      • ‘After a sickly childhood, he entered manhood with uncommon zest and ambition.’
      • ‘It has less independence than the body it replaced but more ambition and more resources.’
      • ‘The present trustees could never be accused of lacking ambition.’
      • ‘So is it personal ambition that's driven her to scale the upper heights of the ministry?’
      • ‘Publicly affable, his home life seems to have taken the brunt of his drive and ambition.’
      • ‘During the course of Citizen Kane, the hero marries two women and his ambition drives them away.’
      • ‘Unlike world leaders she was not driven by raging ambition or a desire to improve society.’
      • ‘This dedication came not through ambition, or from a search for glory, but through his real generosity of spirit, through love.’
      • ‘The boy was a considerable scholar - fluent, we are told, in six languages - but also consumed with ambition.’
      • ‘He's been good at everything he's turned his hand to because of his determination and ambition.’
      • ‘In nineteenth-century France, artists of high ambition sometimes expressed impatience with easel painting.’
      • ‘She arrived in 1920s Paris with nothing but talent, ruthless ambition and her own inimitable style.’
      • ‘On the other hand, it would be surprising if they had equal levels of ambition.’
      • ‘The result of years of research, the book portrays the regent as a woman of ambition, taste, and faith.’
      • ‘Most dangerous of all is that this will encourage those whose ambition outstrips their ability.’
      drive, determination, desire, enterprise, initiative, eagerness, motivation, enthusiasm, zeal, commitment, a sense of purpose, longing, yearning, hankering
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Middle English: via Old French from Latin ambitio(n-), from ambire go around (canvassing for votes).