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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Ambition


AMBI'TION, noun [Latin ambitio, from ambio, to go about, or to seek by making interest, of amb, about, and eo, to go. See Ambages. This word had its origin in the practice of Roman candidates for office, who went about the city to solicit votes.]

A desire of preferment, or of honor; a desire of excellence or superiority. It is used in a good sense; as, emulation may spring from a laudable ambition It denotes also an inordinate desire of power, or eminence, often accompanied with illegal means to obtain the object. It is sometimes followed by of; as, a man has an ambition of wit. Milton has used the word in the Latin sense of going about, or attempting; but this sense is hardly legitimate.

AMBI'TION, verb transitive Ambitiously to seek after. [Little used.]