ambition


ambition
ambition, aspiration, pretension mean strong desire for advancement.
Ambition has personal advancement or preferment as its end; it may be praiseworthy but is sometimes inordinate
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ambition for fame

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ambition to hold office

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Iambition to acquire wealth

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vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself— Shak.

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Aspiration implies as its object something felt to be above one, the striving after which is uplifting or ennobling
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aspiration after knowledge

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that spirit of his in aspiration lifts him from the earth— Shak.

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Aspiration, however, is sometimes used especially in the plural in a derogatory sense of ambition which is felt to be unwarranted or presumptuous
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his aspirations must be nipped in the bud

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Pretension (see also CLAIM, PRETENSE) may be preferred to aspiration in this latter sense, for it carries a hint of presumptuousness and, therefore, of lack of real claim to the powers which fulfillment of the ambition or aspiration requires
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they are always looked upon, either as neglected, or discontented because their pretensions have failed— Montagu

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More often pretension implies less driving power than ambition or aspiration and suggests the guidance of mere desire rather than the possession of the necessary gifts
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it was the undergraduate literary club, whose membership included all nice boys with literary pretensionsMarquand

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Analogous words: urge, lust, *desire: eagerness, avidity, keenness, anxiety (see corresponding adjectives at EAGER): spur, goad, incentive, *motive
Contrasted words: contentment, satisfaction (see corresponding verbs at SATISFY): resignation, *patience: indolence, faineance, sloth (see corresponding adjectives at LAZY)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ambition — [ ɑ̃bisjɔ̃ ] n. f. • ambicion XIIIe; lat. ambitio 1 ♦ Désir ardent d obtenir les biens qui peuvent flatter l amour propre (pouvoir, honneurs, réussite sociale). « Les hommes commencent par l amour, finissent par l ambition » (La Bruyère). Il a de …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ambition — AMBITION. s. f. Désir immodéré d honneur, de gloire, d élévation, de distinction. Grande ambition. Ambition déréglée. Ambition démesurée. Ambition sans bornes. Ambition insatiable. Avoir de l ambition.Ambition, se prend aussi en bonne part; mais… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • ambition — AMBITION. s. f. Desir excessif d honneur & de grandeur. Grande, desreglée, furieuse, horrible, execrable, pernicieuse ambition. avoir de l ambition. faire quelque chose par ambition. c est un homme sans ambition. plein d ambition. brusler d… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • ambition — UK US /æmˈbɪʃən/ noun ► [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… …   Financial and business terms

  • Ambition — • The undue craving for honor Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Ambition     Ambition     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Ambition — Am*bi tion, n. [F. ambition, L. ambitio a going around, especially of candidates for office is Rome, to solicit votes (hence, desire for office or honor), fr. ambire to go around. See {Ambient}, {Issue}.] 1. The act of going about to solicit or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ambition — Ambition, Ambitio, Ambitus. L homme duquel l ambition le rend mal heureux, Miser ambitionis. Quand on ne va plus que à ambition, ou autre chose, Emeritis stipendiis ambitionis. Tout va par ambition et dissimulation aujourd huy, Mores iam nostri… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Ambition — is the possession of motivation for power. Ambitious persons seek power either for themselves, for others, or to weild power over others in the name of an ideal.When used to seek an ideal, ambition develops a close relationship to… …   Wikipedia

  • ambition — (n.) mid 14c., from M.Fr. ambition or directly from L. ambitionem (nom. ambitio) a going around, especially to solicit votes, hence a striving for favor, courting, flattery; a desire for honor, thirst for popularity, noun of action from pp. stem… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ambition — »‹beruflicher› Ehrgeiz«: Das Substantiv ist im 16. Jh. über gleichbed. frz. ambition aus lat. ambitio entlehnt. Das lat. Substantiv bedeutet eigentlich »das Herumgehen«, dann im speziell politischen Sinn »das Herumgehen bei den Wählern in der… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch


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