[am-bee-uh nt]


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.


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 formsun·am·bi·ent, adjectiveun·am·bi·ent·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ambient

Contemporary Examples of ambient

Historical Examples of ambient

  • Then, like an ambient fungus, it slithered off into the jungle undergrowth.

  • Thus it probably was at the ambient temperature of the launch site.

    Pushbutton War

    Joseph P. Martino

  • Ambient cried, bounding with his great strides across the lawn.

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

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

British Dictionary definitions for ambient



of or relating to the immediate surroundingsthe ambient temperature was 15°C
creating a relaxing atmosphereambient music


informal ambient music

Word Origin for ambient

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

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

ambient in Medicine




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