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[am-bee-uh nt] /ˈæm bi ənt/
of the surrounding area or environment:
The tape recorder picked up too many ambient noises. The temperature in the display case was 20° lower than the ambient temperature.
completely surrounding; encompassing:
the ambient air.
creating a certain reaction or mood, often a subconscious one, by being wherever people tend to be:
ambient advertising on a shopping cart.
pertaining to or noting sounds that create a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere.
pertaining to or noting close and constant social contact and communication fostered by the Internet or the use of digital devices:
social media sites that enable ambient intimacy and awareness.
ambient music (def 1).
Origin of ambient
1590-1600; (< Middle French) < Latin ambient- (stem of ambiēns, present participle of ambīre “to go around”), equivalent to amb- ambi- + -i- go + -ent- -ent
Related forms
unambient, adjective
unambiently, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ambient
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The smell of lunch and the cigarette smoke filled the room with an ambient, steamy vapor.

  • He advises you therefore to name the ambient sea for the boundary of your hospital.

  • She may continue her speech to the ambient air; for, when next she looks up from her larceny of bonbons, Peggy is gone.

    Doctor Cupid Rhoda Broughton
  • An unutterably pure and lofty joy filled my soul, and I felt, as if we were out of the body floating on ambient clouds.

    Homo Sum, Complete Georg Ebers
  • So likewise a little Air blown under the water, is united or thrust into a Bubble by the ambient water.

    Micrographia Robert Hooke
British Dictionary definitions for ambient


of or relating to the immediate surroundings: the ambient temperature was 15°C
creating a relaxing atmosphere: ambient music
(informal) ambient music
Word Origin
C16: from Latin ambiēns going round, from ambīre, from ambi- + īre to go
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ambient

1590s, "surrounding, encircling," from Latin ambientem (nominative ambiens) "going round," present participle of ambire "to go around," from amb- "around" (see ambi-) + ire "go" (see ion). The ground sense of "revolving" led to "encircling, lying all around."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ambient in Medicine

ambient am·bi·ent (ām'bē-ənt)
Surrounding; encircling.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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