Student Dictionary

One entry found for ambition.
Main Entry: am·bi·tion
Pronunciation: am-primarystressbish-schwan
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English ambition "desire for power," from early French ambition (same meaning), derived from Latin ambire "to go around," from ambi- "around" and ire "to go"
1 a : an eager desire for social standing, fame, or power b : desire to achieve a particular goal : ASPIRATION
2 : the particular goal of ambition
Word History When candidates for public office in ancient Rome wanted to be elected, they had to do just what modern candidates must do. They had to spend most of their 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" was caused by a desire for honor or power, the word eventually came to mean "the desire for honor or power." This word came into French and English as ambition in the late Middle Ages. Later its meaning broadened to include "an admirable desire for advancement or improvement" and still later "the object of this desire."

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