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ambassador

[am-bas-uh-der, -dawr]
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noun
  1. a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative (ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary).
  2. a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent by a government to represent it on a temporary mission, as for negotiating a treaty.
  3. a diplomatic official serving as permanent head of a country's mission to the United Nations or some other international organization.
  4. an authorized messenger or representative. Abbreviation: Amb., amb.
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Origin of ambassador

1325–75; Middle English am-, embass(i)adour, imbassadore < Anglo-French ambassateur, ambassaduer < Italian ambassatore, dialectal Italian ambassadore, equivalent to ambass- (see embassy) -atore, -adore < Latin -ātōrem accusative of -ātor -ator
Related formsam·bas·sa·do·ri·al [am-bas-uh-dawr-ee-uh l, -dohr-] /æmˌbæs əˈdɔr i əl, -ˈdoʊr-/, adjectiveam·bas·sa·do·ri·al·ly, adverbam·bas·sa·dor·ship, nounpre·am·bas·sa·do·ri·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

diplomatemissarydeputyplenipotentiaryconsulenvoyagentminister

Examples from the Web for ambassador

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He gives his ambassador a sum on which a private gentleman can live, and no more.

  • I should think so—involving the Ambassador of a foreign power!

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • "And his own too, sometimes, I believe," answered the ambassador drily.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • "You find the scene strange, Marquis," said the ambassador, glancing at him shrewdly.

    Fair Margaret

    H. Rider Haggard

  • One who serves his country by residing abroad, yet is not an ambassador.


British Dictionary definitions for ambassador

ambassador

noun
  1. short for ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary; a diplomatic minister of the highest rank, accredited as permanent representative to another country or sovereign
  2. ambassador extraordinary a diplomatic minister of the highest rank sent on a special mission
  3. ambassador plenipotentiary a diplomatic minister of the first rank with treaty-signing powers
  4. ambassador-at-large US an ambassador with special duties who may be sent to more than one government
  5. an authorized representative or messenger
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Derived Formsambassadress, fem nambassadorial (æmˌbæsəˈdɔːrɪəl), adjectiveambassadorship, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French ambassadeur, from Italian ambasciator, from Old Provençal ambaisador, from ambaisa (unattested) mission, errand; see embassy

usage

The gender-neutral form is ambassador
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

Word Origin and History for ambassador

n.

late 14c., also embassador, from Middle French ambassadeur, from Old French embassator, via Provençal or Old Spanish from Latin ambactus "a servant, vassal," from Celtic amb(i)actos "a messenger, servant," from PIE *ambhi- "about" (see ambi-) + *ag- "drive, lead" (see act (v.)). Cf. embassy. Forms in am- and em- were used indiscriminately 17c.-18c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper