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[am-byuh-luh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈæm byə ləˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
of, relating to, or capable of walking:
an ambulatory exploration of the countryside.
adapted for walking, as the limbs of many animals.
moving about or from place to place; not stationary:
an ambulatory tribe.
Also, ambulant. Medicine/Medical.
  1. not confined to bed; able or strong enough to walk:
    an ambulatory patient.
  2. serving patients who are able to walk:
    an ambulatory care center.
Law. not fixed; alterable or revocable:
ambulatory will.
noun, plural ambulatories.
Also called deambulatory. Architecture.
  1. an aisle surrounding the end of the choir or chancel of a church.
  2. the covered walk of a cloister.
Origin of ambulatory
1615-25; < Latin ambulātōrius, equivalent to ambulā-, stem of ambulāre (see amble) + -tōrius -tory1
Related forms
ambulatorily, adverb
nonambulatory, adjective, noun, plural nonambulatories. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ambulatory
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had met her by chance in the ambulatory on her way from Brother Bonaday's rooms.

    Brother Copas

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • The poet is greater than man: he is nature on two legs,—ambulatory.

    How Spring Came in New England Charles Dudley Warner
  • It consists of a choir and ambulatory, transepts, and three bays of a nave.

    The Story of Brussels Ernest Gilliat-Smith
  • There is a central apse, an ambulatory, out of which radiate five chapels.

  • He is said to have introduced into Normandy the ambulatory and its radiating chapels.

    How France Built Her Cathedrals Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly
  • The sanctuary was raised above the ambulatory, with no screen between.

    How France Built Her Cathedrals Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly
  • The system of an ambulatory capital also obtained formerly in Bolivia.

    Mogreb-el-Acksa R. B. Cunninghame Graham
British Dictionary definitions for ambulatory


of, relating to, or designed for walking
changing position; not fixed
Also ambulant. able to walk
(law) (esp of a will) capable of being altered or revoked
noun (pl) -ries
  1. an aisle running around the east end of a church, esp one that passes behind the sanctuary
  2. a place for walking, such as an aisle or a cloister
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 ambulatory

"pertaining to walking;" also "shifting, not permanent," 1620s, from Latin ambulatorius "of or pertaining to a walker; movable," from ambulator, agent noun from past participle stem of ambulare "to walk" (see amble). Middle English had ambulary "movable" (mid-15c.).


from Medieval Latin ambulatorium, from Latin ambulatorius "movable," from ambulare (see amble).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ambulatory in Medicine

ambulatory am·bu·la·to·ry (ām'byə-lə-tôr'ē)

  1. Of, relating to, or adapted for walking.

  2. Capable of walking; not bedridden.

  3. Moving about.

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