See more synonyms for ambitious on
  1. having ambition; eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, a specific goal, etc.: ambitious students.
  2. showing or caused by ambition or an earnest desire for achievement or distinction: an ambitious attempt to break the record for number of wins in a single season.
  3. strongly desirous; eager: ambitious of love and approval.
  4. requiring exceptional effort, ability, etc.: The candidate is proposing an ambitious program for eliminating all slums.

Origin of ambitious

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin ambitiōsus, equivalent to ambiti(ō) ambition + -ōsus -ous
Related formsam·bi·tious·ly, adverbam·bi·tious·ness, nounnon·am·bi·tious, adjectivenon·am·bi·tious·ly, adverbnon·am·bi·tious·ness, nouno·ver·am·bi·tious, adjectiveo·ver·am·bi·tious·ly, adverbo·ver·am·bi·tious·ness, nounun·am·bi·tious, adjectiveun·am·bi·tious·ly, adverbun·am·bi·tious·ness, noun

Synonym study

1. Ambitious, aspiring, enterprising describe a person who wishes to rise above his or her present position or condition. The ambitious person wishes to attain worldly success, and puts forth effort toward this end: ambitious for social position. The enterprising person, interested especially in wealth, is characterized by energy and daring in undertaking projects. The aspiring person wishes to rise (mentally or spiritually) to a higher level or plane, or to attain some end above ordinary expectations.

Antonyms for ambitious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ambitiousness

desire, goal, aspiration, drive, aim, purpose, objective, emulation

Examples from the Web for ambitiousness

Historical Examples of ambitiousness

  • Well, I don't want to discourage your ambitiousness, but I guess you've struck Kilo about the worst time in the century.


    Ellis Parker Butler

  • Nevertheless the lad wondered at the size and ambitiousness of this undertaking and accomplishment in the wilderness.

    The Secret Cache

    E. C. [Ethel Claire] Brill

  • But on top av my ambitiousness there was an empty place in my sowl, an' me own opinion av mesilf cud not fill ut.

    Soldier Stories

    Rudyard Kipling

  • Ambitiousness in those olden days showed itself in momentary outburst; the ambitiousness of to-day runs riot.

    The Wisdom of Confucius

    Epiphanius Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for ambitiousness


  1. having a strong desire for success or achievement; wanting power, money, etc
  2. necessitating extraordinary effort or abilityan ambitious project
  3. (often foll by of) having a great desire (for something or to do something)
Derived Formsambitiously, adverbambitiousness, noun
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 ambitiousness



late 14c., from Latin ambitiosus "going around to canvass for office," from ambitio (see ambition). Related: Ambitiously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper