From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishambitionam‧bi‧tion /æmˈbɪʃən/ ●●○ W3 noun 1 [countable]WANT a strong desire to achieve somethingan ambition to do something She had always had an ambition to be a pilot.somebody’s ambitions of doing something An injury ended his ambitions of becoming a professional footballer.► see thesaurus at aim2 [uncountable]AMBITIOUS determination to be successful, rich, powerful etc He was young and full of ambition.3 → have no ambition to do somethingGRAMMAR: Patterns with ambition• You say that someone’s ambition is to do something: His ambition is to become a doctor.• You can also say that someone has the ambition of doing something: He has the ambition of becoming a doctor.• You can also say that someone has an ambition to do something. This pattern is often used when talking about the past: He had always had an ambition to become a doctor.COLLOCATIONS – Meanings 1 & 2verbssomebody’s ambition is to be/do somethingMy ambition was to be a journalist. have an ambitionHe had an ambition to be a top cello player. achieve/fulfil/realize your ambition (=do what you wanted to do)It took her ten years to achieve her ambition.He was prepared to go to any lengths to fulfil his ambition.I want to thank all those who made it possible for me to realize a lifetime’s ambition.lack ambition/have no ambitionMany of the students lack ambition.nurse/harbour/cherish an ambition (=have it for a long time, especially secretly)He had nursed an ambition to become a writer for many years.frustrate/thwart somebody’s ambitions formal (=prevent someone from achieving them)The weather threatened to frustrate their ambitions.Her lifelong ambitions had been thwarted again and again.ADJECTIVES/NOUN + ambitionsomebody’s main ambitionWhat’s your main ambition in life?somebody’s great ambitionHe didn’t achieve his greatest ambition – to be Wimbledon Champion.a lifelong/long-held ambition (=one that you have had all your life) It’s been her lifelong ambition to work with horses. a personal ambitionCrossing the Sahara was a personal ambition of mine.a secret ambitionHis secret ambition was to become a pilot.a burning/driving ambition (=a very strong ambition)She had a burning ambition to become a racing car driver.career ambitionsThe course is designed to help you achieve your career ambitions.political/presidential ambitionsHis political ambitions were put on hold while he waited for a suitable opportunity.phrasessomebody’s dreams and ambitionsHe told her all about his dreams and ambitions.somebody’s lack of ambitionI was frustrated by their apparent lack of ambition.be full of ambitionShe was full of ambition when she joined the company.
Examples from the Corpusambition• Unfortunately, his skills and ambition have not yielded any meaningful understanding of the region.• Getting to the top hadn't been easy, in spite of his burning ambition and will to succeed.• She had early ambitions to be a marine biologist, and always claimed that lack of formal educational opportunity prevented her.• But I do think as long as you've got ambitions in life you can do anything you want.• But the shamelessness of her ambition was nothing compared with Farin a's.• Her ambition was to go to law school and become an attorney.• Earlier this year, he achieved his ambition of competing in the Olympic games.• But his ambition had its limits.• The words came over clearly but cautiously: Leslie Brent was denied his ambition to be a cook.• My teachers always told me that I lacked ambition, and would never get anywhere.• I hardly dared formulate my ambition to myself.• What can you do with a kid who has no ambition?• "Your problem, " said Arthur, "is that you have no ambition."• Eric wasn't particularly intelligent but he had plenty of ambition.• Kasich is thought to have grand political ambitions.• Yeltsin fumed at questions of whether the nuclear summit and surrounding meetings were tailored to his political ambitions.an ambition to do something• By then fired by an ambition to go all the way, he turned professional.• Years later, his career reached a peak when he kissed Marlon Brando Have you always had an ambition to act?• Niki had an ambition to drive it perfectly.• I had arrived at Ullapool by bus in mid-afternoon, determined to satisfy an ambition to make a first visit to Lochinver.• It is always a dream of greatness, not simply an ambition to succeed.• Dayton is a young Gentleman of talents, with an ambition to exert them.Origin ambition (1300-1400) Latin ambitio, from ambire; → AMBIENT