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See more synonyms for ambitious on Thesaurus.com
  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.
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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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for over-ambitious

grandiose, stilted, arty, overblown, hollow, exaggerated, turgid, pompous, showy, ostentatious, affected, assuming, aureate, big, bombastic, chichi, conspicuous, extravagant, feigned, flamboyant

Examples from the Web for over-ambitious

Historical Examples of over-ambitious

  • We have been over-ambitious, we wanted to do things too well!

    The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete

    Emile Zola

  • Thus doth fate pursue the over-ambitious and wreck their plans.

    A Woman for Mayor

    Helen M. Winslow

  • You think, perhaps, that I 'm employing an over-ambitious phrase, but I am not.

  • It is the over-ambitious singer, the singer who forces a small, light organ to do heavy work, who develops the tremolo.

    Caruso and Tetrazzini on the Art of Singing

    Enrico Caruso and Luisa Tetrazzini

  • But that which he covets comes not to the jealous one, nor power to him who thirsts for it, nor honor to the over-ambitious.

    The Quest

    Frederik van Eeden

British Dictionary definitions for over-ambitious


  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)
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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 over-ambitious



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper