Meaning of “ambition” in the English Dictionary

"ambition" in British English

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ambitionnoun

uk /æmˈbɪʃ.ən/ us /æmˈbɪʃ.ən/

B1 [ C ] a strong wish to achieve something:

[ + to infinitive ] His ambition is ultimately to run his own business.
He has already achieved his main ambition in life - to become wealthy.
political ambitions
She doubts whether she'll ever be able to fulfil her ambition.
I've always had a burning (= very great) ambition to be a film director.
After his heart attack, he abandoned his ambition to become prime minister.

B2 [ U ] a strong wish to be successful, powerful, rich, etc.:

She has a lot of ambition.

More examples

  • Her ambition and dogged determination ensured that she rose to the top of her profession.
  • We are looking for someone with drive and ambition.
  • Driving ambition is what most great leaders have in common.
  • Being here is the fulfilment of a lifelong ambition.
  • She finally achieved her ambition to visit South America.

(Definition of “ambition” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"ambition" in American English

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ambitionnoun [ C/U ]

us /æmˈbɪʃ·ən/

a strong desire for success, achievement, power, or wealth:

[ C ] His presidential ambitions were frustrated in the 1980s.
[ U ] No one ever accused him of lacking ambition.

(Definition of “ambition” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"ambition" in Business English

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ambitionnoun

uk /æmˈbɪʃən/ us

[ C ] a strong wish to achieve a particular thing:

ambition to do sth After his heart attack, he abandoned his ambition to become CEO.
achieve/fulfil/realize your ambition He has already achieved his main ambition in life - to become rich.
ultimate/long-term ambition Her ultimate ambition is to run her own business.
career ambitions.
political/personal/artistic ambitions

[ U ] a strong wish to be successful:

She's got a lot of ambition.
I felt he lacked the ambition to succeed in showbusiness.

(Definition of “ambition” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)