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[am-boo sh] /ˈæm bʊʃ/
noun, Also, ambushment
an act or instance of lying concealed so as to attack by surprise:
The highwaymen waited in ambush near the road.
an act or instance of attacking unexpectedly from a concealed position.
the concealed position itself:
They fired from ambush.
those who attack suddenly and unexpectedly from a concealed position.
verb (used with object)
to attack from ambush.
Origin of ambush
1250-1300; (v.) Middle English enbuss(h)en < Middle French embuschier to place men in ambush, literally, to set in the woods, equivalent to em- im-1 + busch- (< Vulgar Latin *busca wood, forest < Germanic *busk- heavy stick) + -ier infinitive suffix; (noun) earlier enbusshe < Middle French embusche, derivative of the v.
Related forms
ambusher, noun
ambushlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ambushing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The mischief was individual now, and ambushing was more common.

    The Last Stetson John Fox Jr.
  • He thought of turning his horse loose and ambushing the mountainmen, afoot.

    Partners of Chance

    Henry Herbert Knibbs
  • His uniform was generally yellow, and he was in the habit of ambushing in yellow flowers.

    Old Farm Fairies: Henry Christopher McCook
  • Finally they got discouraged trying to fight Blant in the open, and tuck to ambushing.

    Mothering on Perilous

    Lucy S. Furman
  • They had failed in their first effort at ambushing the cut, and Casey knew the troops would prevent a second attempt.

    The U.P. Trail Zane Grey
  • Three or four men, and as many horses were slain; but the ambushing body was outnumbered, and several of its members killed.

    Campaigns of a Non-Combatant, George Alfred Townsend
  • Between the two parties was a willow-bordered creek toward which each started for the apparent purpose of ambushing the other.

    The Spirit Lake Massacre Thomas Teakle
  • The ravening hunter of man that has been ambushing him half the day rolls over with a piercing howl.

British Dictionary definitions for ambushing


the act of waiting in a concealed position in order to launch a surprise attack
a surprise attack from such a position
the concealed position from which such an attack is launched
the person or persons waiting to launch such an attack
to lie in wait (for)
(transitive) to attack suddenly from a concealed position
Derived Forms
ambusher, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French embuschier to position in ambush, from em-im- + -buschier, from busche piece of firewood, probably of Germanic origin; see bush1
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 ambushing



c.1300, from Old French embuscher (13c., Modern French embûcher) "to lay an ambush," from en- "in" + busch "wood," apparently from Frankish *busk "bush, woods" (see bush (n.)). Related: Ambushed; ambushing.



late 15c., embushe, from the English verb or from Middle French embusche, from Old French embuscher (see ambush (v.)). Earlier was ambushment (late 14c.). Figurative use by 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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