Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Full of, characterized by, or motivated by ambition.
  • adj. Greatly desirous; eager: "I am not ambitious of ridicule” ( Edmund Burke).
  • adj. Requiring or showing much effort; challenging: an ambitious schedule.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Possessing, or controlled by ambition; greatly or inordinately desirous of power, honor, office, superiority, or distinction.
  • adj. Strongly desirous—followed by "of" or the infinitive; as, ambitious to be or to do something.
  • adj. Springing from, characterized by, or indicating, ambition; showy; aspiring.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Possessing, or controlled by, ambition; greatly or inordinately desirous of power, honor, office, superiority, or distinction.
  • adj. Strongly desirous; -- followed by of or the infinitive.
  • adj. Springing from, characterized by, or indicating, ambition; showy; aspiring.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Characterized by or possessing ambition; eagerly or inordinately desirous of obtaining power, superiority, or distinction.
  • Strongly desirous; eager: with of (formerly for) or an infinitive.
  • Springing from or indicating ambition.
  • Hence Showy; pretentious: as, an ambitious style; ambitious ornament.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. requiring full use of your abilities or resources
  • adj. having a strong desire for success or achievement

Etymologies

From Middle English ambitious, from Old French *ambitieus, from Latin ambitiosus, from ambitio; see ambition. Compare with French ambitieux. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I hear from professional women each day that the term "ambitious" has negative connotations for them.

    Forbes.com: News

  • He has faced setbacks in what he calls an "ambitious" plan, including a management shake-up at the core French operations.

    Carrefour Faces Rowdy Protesters

  • NEWTON: Well, in this case, I think the Iraqis should be commended because they've learned one of the lessons in early tribunals was to what I call ambitious overcharging.

    CNN Transcript Oct 19, 2005

  • Links said EU negotiators made what he labelled ambitious requests in the previous round of talks with regard to areas such as cars, textiles, clothing and ceramics.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • They did not like what they called my ambitious ways -- and so they sent me to the Cold Country.

    Tarrano the Conqueror

  • BRUSSELS Reuters - Unrest in North Africa has set back in the short term ambitious plans to develop solar energy for use locally and in Europe, but for the longer term the region's abundant sunshine offers huge investment potential, the head of France's Medgrid said on Thursday.

    Reuters: Press Release

  • WASHINGTON - The government is setting what it calls an ambitious goal for Alzheimer's disease: Development of effective ways to treat and prevent the mind-destroying illness by 2025.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • WASHINGTON -- The government is setting what it calls an ambitious goal for Alzheimer's disease: Development of effective ways to treat and prevent the mind-destroying illness by 2025.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • He added: The word 'ambitious' is one we're entirely familiar with.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The word "ambitious" rankled some of Mr. Bloomberg's critics, who weighed in heavily throughout the afternoon with tweeted messages and e-mails, mostly saying his proposals were retreads of old and "failing" policies.

    NYT > Home Page

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