[am-byuh-luh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]
  1. of, relating to, or capable of walking: an ambulatory exploration of the countryside.
  2. adapted for walking, as the limbs of many animals.
  3. moving about or from place to place; not stationary: an ambulatory tribe.
  4. 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.
  5. Law. not fixed; alterable or revocable: ambulatory will.
noun, plural am·bu·la·to·ries.
  1. 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. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for nonambulatory


  1. of, relating to, or designed for walking
  2. changing position; not fixed
  3. Also: ambulant able to walk
  4. law (esp of a will) capable of being altered or revoked
noun plural -ries
  1. architect
    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 nonambulatory



"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

nonambulatory in Medicine


  1. Of, relating to, or adapted for walking.
  2. Capable of walking; not bedridden.
  3. Moving about.
  4. 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.