- having ambition; eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, a specific goal, etc.: ambitious students.
- 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.
- strongly desirous; eager: ambitious of love and approval.
- requiring exceptional effort, ability, etc.: The candidate is proposing an ambitious program for eliminating all slums.
Origin of ambitious
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for unambitious
Not unambitious for a country deeper in debt than the United States.From the River (In)to the Sea
June 18, 2012
It was not quick to move or easily excited; but stolid, cautious, unambitious, procrastinating.Laws
Who showed me how common and dull and unambitious I had been all my life?Cap'n Dan's Daughter
Joseph C. Lincoln
It is the founding in an unambitious way of a comfortable home.Our Italy
Charles Dudley Warner
Considered in its main outline, how very plain and unambitious is the history!
Harry, as may be supposed, being passive and unambitious, opposed it with all his might.Hester, Volume 3 (of 3)
- lacking in ambitionthey were unambitious for their daughters
- having a strong desire for success or achievement; wanting power, money, etc
- necessitating extraordinary effort or abilityan ambitious project
- (often foll by of) having a great desire (for something or to do something)
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 unambitious
late 14c., from Latin ambitiosus "going around to canvass for office," from ambitio (see ambition). Related: Ambitiously.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper