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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for ambushment
Historical Examples
  • A difficult matter it was, too, to keep this Mohican boy snug in the ambushment.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • Their overnight bivouac was not above a mile beyond the glade of ambushment.

    The Master of Appleby Francis Lynde
  • Still I see no need, why the grave of an honest man should be hid, like a Red-skin in his ambushment.

    The Prairie J. Fenimore Cooper
  • While he spoke these things, Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind him.

  • On the 8th August they came to an ambushment all prepared, but it had been abandoned for some unknown reason.

  • So from that on we went as men whose lives are held in pawn by a hidden foe, looking at every turn for an ambushment.

    The Master of Appleby Francis Lynde
  • I hold it a sin to kill the second buck afore the first is eaten, unless a march in front, or an ambushment, be contemplated.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • What I fear is an ambushment, in which my lover will be carried off by those wicked men.

    A Clerk of Oxford Evelyn Everett-Green
  • Also Sir Kay came out of an ambushment with five knights with him, and they six smote other six down.

  • I am not a red-skin born, and it is more a white man's gifts to fight openly than to lie in ambushment.

    The Pathfinder James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for ambushment


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 ambushment



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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ambushment in the Bible

Joshua at the capture of Ai lay in ambush, and so deceived the inhabitants that he gained an easy victory (Josh. 8:4-26). Shechem was taken in this manner (Judg. 9:30-45. Comp. Jer. 51:12).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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