[am-byuh-luh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]


of, relating to, or capable of walking: an ambulatory exploration of the countryside.
adapted for walking, as the limbs of many animals.
moving about or from place to place; not stationary: an ambulatory tribe.
Also ambulant. Medicine/Medical.
  1. not confined to bed; able or strong enough to walk: an ambulatory patient.
  2. serving patients who are able to walk: an ambulatory care center.
Law. not fixed; alterable or revocable: ambulatory will.

noun, plural am·bu·la·to·ries.

Also called deambulatory. Architecture.
  1. an aisle surrounding the end of the choir or chancel of a church.
  2. the covered walk of a cloister.

Origin of ambulatory

1615–25; < Latin ambulātōrius, equivalent to ambulā-, stem of ambulāre (see amble) + -tōrius -tory1
Related formsam·bu·la·to·ri·ly, adverbnon·am·bu·la·to·ry, adjective, noun, plural non·am·bu·la·to·ries. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for ambulatory

vagabond, peripatetic, vagrant, roving, itinerant, nomadic, ambulant

Examples from the Web for ambulatory

Contemporary Examples of ambulatory

Historical Examples of ambulatory

British Dictionary definitions for ambulatory



of, relating to, or designed for walking
changing position; not fixed
Also: ambulant able to walk
law (esp of a will) capable of being altered or revoked

noun plural -ries

  1. an aisle running around the east end of a church, esp one that passes behind the sanctuary
  2. a place for walking, such as an aisle or a cloister
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 ambulatory

"pertaining to walking;" also "shifting, not permanent," 1620s, from Latin ambulatorius "of or pertaining to a walker; movable," from ambulator, agent noun from past participle stem of ambulare "to walk" (see amble). Middle English had ambulary "movable" (mid-15c.).


from Medieval Latin ambulatorium, from Latin ambulatorius "movable," from ambulare (see amble).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ambulatory in Medicine




Of, relating to, or adapted for walking.
Capable of walking; not bedridden.
Moving about.
Of or relating to medical care or services provided on an outpatient basis.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.