Definition of ambitious in English:



  • 1Having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed.

    ‘a ruthlessly ambitious workaholic’
    • ‘But the band does sound ambitious and hungry to progress to bigger and better things.’
    • ‘It used to be the case that ambitious people went into politics in the hope that they would one day become famous.’
    • ‘We are ambitious and we want the best for the population of Breaffy and Ballyheane.’
    • ‘Where else would you have a government in which bright, ambitious ministers don't want the top job?’
    • ‘Is he ambitious and keen to succeed by seeing you enjoy commercial success?’
    • ‘Its predominance in west and central Africa is coming to an end as South Africa becomes more ambitious.’
    • ‘However, Lochhead argued, it is crucial that the new institution tries not to be too ambitious.’
    • ‘As Cesarani demonstrates, Eichmann was an ambitious man determined to do his job well.’
    • ‘That is why younger, leaner, more ambitious colleges are now the real powerhouses of learning.’
    • ‘They are honest, enthusiastic and ambitious for the club and they made it clear they wanted me to stay.’
    • ‘Some of the more ambitious regional economic groupings are striving to become a common market.’
    • ‘O'Connor is an ambitious and driven young man and he knew that this was his chance to make capital from his success.’
    • ‘By contrast, the syndicates of private investors have become more ambitious.’
    • ‘He now hopes to marry Bradamante, but her ambitious parents vigorously oppose the match.’
    • ‘Former colleagues of Usi describe him as intelligent, ambitious and volatile.’
    • ‘For young boys and their ambitious parents, all of this is the stuff of which dreams are made.’
    • ‘I found them to be a very receptive group, very ambitious and very willing to learn.’
    • ‘Clever, ambitious and moderate as he is, I do not for a moment think he expects his party to win the election.’
    • ‘New York, that great city of immigrants, is home to ambitious sons and daughters from all over the world.’
    • ‘They were determined and ambitious in their playing, but their performances were a mixed bag.’
    aspiring, determined, forceful, pushy, enterprising, pioneering, progressive, eager, motivated, driven, enthusiastic, energetic, zealous, committed, go-ahead, go-getting, purposeful, assertive, aggressive, hungry, power-hungry
    eager, determined, enthusiastic, desirous, anxious, hungry, impatient, striving, yearning, longing, wishing, itching, dying, hoping, avid, hankering
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a plan or piece of work) intended to satisfy high aspirations and therefore difficult to achieve.
      ‘an ambitious enterprise’
      • ‘To make the ambitious plans work, the house next door also had to be bought.’
      • ‘Youngsters in the town were on hand on Saturday as work began on another ambitious project in the town.’
      • ‘Town hall chiefs have agreed to submit the ambitious proposal to the Transport Department.’
      • ‘Lovell acknowledges that the rescue plan is ambitious and riddled with potential problems.’
      • ‘Turnover has doubled in the past two years as the company embarked on an ambitious expansion programme.’
      • ‘People in Cottingley had arranged fundraising ventures for the ambitious project.’
      • ‘The Society has a full and ambitious programme laid out for the rest of the year.’
      • ‘This ambitious scheme was designed to make the motorist's life a lot freer.’
      • ‘Parents are set to be given their say on ambitious plans which could see a York school sold to make way for a new one.’
      • ‘It was a bold and ambitious plan that took no account of the terrain or local conditions.’
      • ‘Edinburgh's political and business leadership have set themselves an ambitious goal.’
      • ‘Instead the company has come up with an ambitious scheme to boost the number of people working from home.’
      • ‘It's an ambitious feat, but he's hoping it will help him get over his recent divorce.’
      • ‘Work on the ambitious project started this week, and will be completed later in the month.’
      • ‘This is an ambitious programme which will succeed if all of Erris supports the event.’
      • ‘I hope my vision is clear enough for this job and ambitious enough for this country.’
      • ‘And work is now due to start on the ambitious project to meet the timescale for claiming the award.’
      • ‘The most important step in reaching this ambitious goal is to stop pollution at its source.’
      • ‘It is an ambitious work, with inevitable moments of awkwardness and pretension.’
      • ‘The project proposes the most ambitious plans for the parish church in over 100 years.’
      difficult, exacting, demanding, formidable, challenging, hard, arduous, onerous, tough, stiff, strenuous
      View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French ambitieux or Latin ambitiosus, from ambitio (see ambition).