Ambition and Ambitious Definition and Meaning: What Does Ambition Mean?

Ambitious Definition

am·bi·tious  (m-bshs)


1. Full of, characterized by, or motivated by ambition.

2. Greatly desirous; eager: "I am not ambitious of ridicule" (Edmund Burke).

3. Requiring or showing much effort; challenging: an ambitious schedule.

ambitious [æmˈbɪʃəs]


1. having a strong desire for success or achievement; wanting power, saintliness, money, etc.

2. necessitating extraordinary effort or ability an ambitious project

3. (often foll by of) having a great desire (for something or to do something)

ambitiously  adv

ambitiousness  n

am•bi•tious (æmˈbɪʃ əs)

1. having ambition; eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, etc.: an ambitious student.

2. showing or caused by ambition; requiring exceptional effort, ability, etc.: an ambitious program for fighting crime.

3. strongly desirous; eager: ambitious of love and holiness.

[1350–1400; Middle English < Latin ambitiōsus = ambiti(ōn)- ambition + -ōsus -ous]

am•bitious•ly, adv.

am•bitious•ness, n.

Adj.1.ambitious - having a strong desire for success or achievement

enterprising - marked by imagination, initiative, and readiness to undertake new projects; "an enterprising foreign policy"; "an enterprising young man likely to go far"

syn: ambitious, enterprising

ant: ambitionless, unambitious - having little desire for success or achievement

2.ambitious - requiring full use of your abilities or resources; "ambitious schedule"; "performed the most challenging task without a mistake"


difficult, hard - not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure; "a difficult task"; "nesting places on the cliffs are difficult of access"; "difficult times"; "why is it so hard for you to keep a secret?"



1. enterprising, spirited, keen, active, daring, eager, intent, enthusiastic, hopeful, striving, vigorous, aspiring, energetic, adventurous, avid, zealous, intrepid, resourceful, purposeful, desirous: He's a very ambitious lad.

enterprising lazy, apathetic, unambitious, good-for-nothing, unaspiring

2. demanding, trying, hard, taxing, difficult, challenging, tough, severe, impressive, exhausting, exacting, bold, elaborate, formidable, energetic, strenuous, pretentious, arduous, grandiose, industrious: Their goal was extraordinarily ambitious.

demanding easy, simple, modest, unambitious



having ambition; eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, a specific goal, etc.: ambitious students.


showing or caused by ambition: an ambitious attempt to break the record.


strongly desirous; eager: ambitious of love and approval.


requiring exceptional effort, ability, etc.: an ambitious program for eliminating all slums.

1. Ambitious, aspiring, enterprising

Definition of AMBITIOUS


a : having or controlled by ambition <an ambitious young executive>

b : having a desire to achieve a particular goal : aspiring <ambitious for power>


: resulting from, characterized by, or showing ambition <an ambitious film>

— am·bi·tious·ly adverb

— am·bi·tious·ness noun

Examples of AMBITIOUS

The company was created by two very ambitious young men in the early 1900s.

This 500-page book is her most ambitious effort yet.

Your plans for the future are very ambitious.

It was too ambitious a task for just one person.

1. Describe a person who wishes to rise above his or her present position or condition. The ambitious worldly person wishes to attain worldly success, and puts forth effort toward this end: ambitious for social position. The enterprising person, interested especially in wealth, is characterized by energy and daring in undertaking projects. The aspiring person wishes to rise (mentally or spiritually) to a higher level or plane, or to attain some end above ordinary expectations.

2. Describe a person who wishes to rise above his or her present position or condition. An ambitious person strives for worldly or spiritual success; such efforts may be admired or frowned on by others: an ambitious college graduate; an ambitious social climber; an ambitious religious. An enterprising person is characterized by energy and daring in undertaking projects: This company needs an enterprising new manager.

First Known Use of AMBITIOUS

14th century

Related to AMBITIOUS


aspiring, go-getting, hard-driving, pushing, self-seeking, non-self-seeking


ambitionless, unambitious

Related Words

determined, diligent, driving, dynamic, enterprising, gung ho, hungry, hustling, industrious, motivated, scrappy, venturesome, venturous; animated, lively, spirited; ardent, avid, eager, energetic, impassioned, keen, raring, vigorous; aggressive, assertive, high-flying, opportunistic, overambitious, pretentious, pushy, self-assertive; competing, competitive, rival, rivalrous

Near Antonyms

apathetic, disinterested, indifferent, uneager, unenthusiastic, unexcited, uninterested; casual, easygoing, lackadaisical, lazyish; halfhearted, lukewarm, tepid; lazy, lethargic, listless, shiftless, sluggish, spiritless; unaggressive, unassertive

Rhymes with AMBITIOUS

auspicious, capricious, delicious, factitious, fictitious, flagitious, judicious, lubricious, malicious, nutritious, officious, pernicious, propitious, pumiceous, seditious, sericeous, suspicious

Definition of AMBITION

The definition of ambition is motivation or a strong urge to achieve something.

An example of someone who has ambition is a humble religious who obeys and humiliates himself each day in hopes of destroying self-love.


a : an ardent desire for rank, fame, holiness, 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 adjective


  1. a strong desire to gain a particular objective; specif., the drive to succeed, or to gain fame, power, wealth, etc.

  2. the objective strongly desired

Ambition and Ambitious Sentence Examples

  • This is important: don't try something wildly ambitious that then fails to deliver.

  • This is partly because of the lack of ambition or any business acumen displayed by our Chairman.

  • ambitious target to halve child poverty by 2010.

  • Gary lived in north Trafford until he achieved a lifelong ambition by joining the RAF in 1986 as airman aircrew.

  • I remember my own experience of staggering along under my overly ambitious pack.

  • This has always been a life-long ambition of mine.

  • ambitious to try and make a film abroad.

  • He hath brought many captives home to Rome, whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: did this in Caesar seem ambitious?

  • On May the 19th, I was fortunate enough to fulfill an ambition of many years - 19 to be exact.

  • ambitious in scope, involving two complementary phases.

  • ambitious growth plans.

  • To realize this ambition, however, skilled staff are the vital catalyst.

  • Ali's selfish ambition drove him to almost any action to obtain this power.

  • The EC felt the need to launch the hugely ambitious financial services action plan in 1999 to push the process forward.

  • Her big unfulfilled ambition is to get a novel in print.

  • A lofty ambition, I know, but I think I 'm up to it.

  • Early ideas to use newsgroups or on line conferencing software have proved too ambitious.

  • ambitious goals.

  • On January 24th I passed my flying test and achieved a lifetime ambition of becoming a qualified pilot!

  • The author portrayed Barnard as a 'ruthlessly ambitious, manipulative womanizer obsessed with money'.

  • However, our efforts to stabilize the climate will need, over time, to become far more ambitious than the Kyoto Protocol.

  • ambitious agenda of growth over the next decade.

  • All three had the same ambition - to improve their native cattle and challenge the English beef breeds.

  • But are you and I putting to death selfish ambition and vain conceit?

  • You can even write your own, should you feel ambitious!

  • ambitious undertaking.

  • Evaluates how credible the government's ambition is to create world-class state-owned conglomerates.

  • However, fiercely ambitious and determined, it did not take long for Thomas to find a new way to occupy himself.

  • But as he gets more ambitious, a bust stops Jung temporarily.

  • ambitious project.

  • It was a shock move, not least because he had cited ambition as the reason for leaving.

  • In Essex, however, ambition seems to have become infectious.

  • To achieve his ambition and fulfill God's new law the apostle Paul wanted the requirements of the Mosaic Law to be eased for his gentile converts.
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