ambitious


ambitious
ambitious 1 Ambitious, emulous both mean extremely desirous of something that will give one power, fame, success, or riches.
Ambitious often implies inordinate, sometimes presumptuous, eagerness to advance oneself or to attain something beyond one’s present reach; it may, in addition, connote aggressiveness in the pursuit of one’s ends
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the noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious: if it were so, it was a grievous fault— Shak.

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Emulous stresses the desire to equal or surpass others; it can suggest covetous rivalry or merely the spirit of competition
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men of pedigree . . . emulous always of the nearest place to any throne, except the throne of grace— Cowper

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Analogous words: *eager, avid, anxious, keen: aspiring, panting, aiming (see AIM vb): daring, venturesome, *adventurous
Antonyms: unambitious
Contrasted words: apathetic, phlegmatic, stolid (see IMPASSIVE): indolent, faineant, slothful, *lazy
2 Ambitious, pretentious, utopian are comparable when they are applied to such matters as plans, designs, programs, or policies and mean straining or exceeding the capacity of their authors or executants.
Something is ambitious which is either so far beyond what can with certainty be accomplished that its realization or execution is doubtful or which, if realized, is accomplished only by excessive effort or by testing one’s powers to the utmost
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the philosopher has the ambitious aim of unifying, or harmonizing, these points of view— Inge

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his last novel was his most ambitious and possibly his best

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Something is pretentious which so far exceeds one’s powers or resources that any attempt to carry it out reveals one’s inadequacy, inexperience, or lack of sufficient skill; in this sense it often but not necessarily implies ostentation
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the program was too pretentious for so young a violinist

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Something is utopian which is utterly impracticable or unattainable under present or sometimes, any conditions. Utopian, if it does not suggest an idealistic approach, invariably implies indifference to actualities
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the reformers started out with an ambitious program which its critics called utopian; time has shown that it was too pretentious

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Analogous words: audacious, bold (see BRAVE): daring (see ADVENTUROUS): ostentatious, *showy
Antonyms: modest
Contrasted words: lowly, *humble: *moderate, temperate

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ambitious — Am*bi tious, a. [L. ambitiosus: cf. F. ambitieux. See {Ambition}.] 1. Possessing, or controlled by, ambition; greatly or inordinately desirous of power, honor, office, superiority, or distinction. [1913 Webster] Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ambitious — UK US /æmˈbɪʃəs/ adjective ► having a strong wish to be successful: »an ambitious young lawyer »I make no secret of the fact that I am very ambitious. ► if a plan or idea is ambitious, it needs a lot of skill and effort to be successful or be… …   Financial and business terms

  • ambitious — [am bish′əs] adj. [ME ambicious < L ambitiosus, seeking favor < ambitio: see AMBITION] 1. full of or showing ambition 2. greatly desirous (of something); eager for 3. demanding great effort, skill, enterprise, etc. [an ambitious… …   English World dictionary

  • ambitious — [adj1] desiring success aggressive, anxious, ardent, aspiring, avid, ball of fire*, bent upon, climbing, come on, come on strong, designing, desirous, determined, driving, eager, eager beaver*, earnest, energetic, enterprising, enthusiastic,… …   New thesaurus

  • ambitious — index eager, solicitous Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • ambitious — (adj.) late 14c., from L. ambitiosus going around to canvass for office, from ambitio (see AMBITION (Cf. ambition)). Related: Ambitiously …   Etymology dictionary

  • ambitious — ► ADJECTIVE 1) having or showing ambition. 2) intended to meet a high standard and therefore difficult to achieve. DERIVATIVES ambitiously adverb ambitiousness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • ambitious — ambitiously, adv. ambitiousness, n. /am bish euhs/, adj. 1. having ambition; eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, a specific goal, etc.: ambitious students. 2. showing or caused by ambition: an ambitious attempt to… …   Universalium

  • ambitious — am•bi•tious [[t]æmˈbɪʃ əs[/t]] adj. 1) having ambition; eagerly desirous of achieving or obtaining success, power, wealth, etc.: an ambitious student[/ex] 2) showing or caused by ambition; requiring exceptional effort, ability, etc.: an ambitious …   From formal English to slang

  • ambitious — am|bi|tious [æmˈbıʃəs] adj 1.) determined to be successful, rich, powerful etc ▪ Alfred was intensely ambitious, obsessed with the idea of becoming rich. ambitious for ▪ mothers who are highly ambitious for their children (=who want their… …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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