September 12, 2011
- ambition (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 a : an eager desire for social standing, fame, or power b : desire to achieve a particular goal : aspiration2 : the particular goal of one's desires
- How do you use it?
- Ben loves to play the saxophone, and his greatest ambition is to become good enough to play professionally as part of a jazz band.
- Are you a word wiz?
There is one human activity that has more to do with the development of the word "ambition" than any other. Which activity do you think gave us all "ambition"?We hope you voted for answer C! Just like their modern counterparts, candidates for public office in ancient Rome had to spend a lot of time going around the city urging the citizens to vote for them. The Latin word for this effort was "ambitio," which came from "ambire," a verb meaning "to go around." Since this "ambition" is caused by a desire for honor or power, the word eventually came to mean "the desire for honor or power." Middle French adopted the word's "quest for glory" sense when speakers started using it in the Middle Ages. By the 14th century, English speakers had done the same.