ambi-, amb-, ambo-

(Latin: both, on both sides; around, about; vague; obscure)

ambilevous (adjective), more ambilevous, most ambilevous
Clumsy and uncoordinated when using either the left hand or the right hand: Nancy looked quite maladroit, or ambilevous, while she was trying to untie the knot in the ball of yarn she wanted to use for knitting.
ambilingualism (s) (noun), ambilingualisms (pl)
A situation that exists when someone has virtually equal command of two languages: When Doris moved to Quebec, Canada, from France, her ambilingualism of French and English made it easy for her to communicate with the local citizens.
ambiloquent (adjective), more ambiloquent, most ambiloquent
1. A reference to a comment that is spoken with uncertainty or hesitation: The politician was criticized for his ambiloquent declarations and lack of saying exactly what he meant to communicate to his audience.
2. Etymology: from Latin ambiguus, "moving from side to side, of a doubtful nature", from ambigere, "to go about, wander, doubt"; from ambi-, "around, about, on both sides" + agere, "to drive, to move".
ambiopia (am" bee OH pee uh) (s) (noun), ambiopias (pl)
1.The perception of having two images of a single object: An ambiopia is the double vision that exists when someone looks at something.

A person's ambiopia can be one of the first signs of a systemic disease; especially, a muscular or neurological process which may disrupt a person’s balance, movements, and/or reading abilities.

2. The status of using either eye alone at a given time: In order to avoid the simultaneous perception of two images of a single object, some people can use either the left or the right eye for each occasion.
ambisinister (am bi SIN uh stuhr) (adjective), more ambisinister, most ambisinister
1. Relating to the inability to perform acts requiring manual skill with either hand; literally, "having two left hands": Little Linda showed ambisinister movements when she was trying to tie her shoelaces for the very first time.
2. A reference to someone who is clumsy, awkward, or being unskillful in the use of both hands with the same bad results: The little child presented in the picture below is certainly an ambisinister one because he has difficulties getting the food into his mouth without spilling it all over himself.
3. Etymology: from Latin ambi-, "both", + sinister, "on the left side".
A baby exhibits his ambisinistrous eating behavior.
Word Info image © ALL rights are reserved.
ambisinistrodextrous (adjective), more ambisinistrodextrous, most ambisinistrodextrous
Descriptive of someone who is equally skillful with both the left and the right hands:: Jerome was proud that he was an ambisinistrodextrous person because he was a mechanic who needed such abilities to do his work easier and with less trouble.
ambisinistrous (adjective), more ambisinistrous, most ambisinistrous
Descriptive of an unskillful or inferior utilization of both hands: Following his bicycle accident, Martin had to get physical therapy in order to improve the ambisinistrous, or uncoordinated, condition of the manual extremities of his arms.
ambisonic (s) (noun), ambisonics (pl)
A recording and reproduction system that uses separate channels and speakers to create the effect of being surrounded by sounds: Ambisonics is a technique or set-up that uses full-scale sounds which are heard all around those who are listening to them.
ambit (AM bit) (s) (noun), ambits (pl)
1. An external boundary or circuit of a given area: Because he was new in the city, Jack decided to stay within the ambit of the town in order to avoid losing his way around it.
2. A sphere or scope of something which acts or performs: A piano has a greater ambit of sounds for an audience than an acoustic guitar.
3. Etymology: from Latin ambitus, which came from ambire, "to go around".
ambitendency (am" bi TEN duhn see) (noun), ambitendencies (pl)
The coexistence of contradictory feelings in a person: The ambitendency that Nadia was experiencing was quite contrary because she loved Jack, but she also detested the way he treated her.
ambition (am BISH uhn) (noun), ambitions (pl)
1. An earnest or eager desire for some type of achievement or distinction: Ambitions involve the longing for power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.
2. The object, state, goal, or result aspired or sought after: To be a professional baseball player has been Jim's life-time ambition.
3. A need or urge for an activity: Jerry and Jane have no ambition to go dancing this evening; so, they are staying home.

Word History

Even in ancient Rome candidates for public office went around soliciting votes. This activity was indicated by the word ambitio, "a going about, going around".

Ambitio was derived from ambire, "to go about", which in turn was formed from amb-, "about", and ire, "to go". Since this activity indicated a desire for honor or power, the word ambitio came to mean the desire for official honors.

This word was borrowed in French and English as ambition, and its meaning broadened to denote the earnest desire for achievement.

—Information from Picturesque Word Origins; G. & C. Merriam Company;
Springfield, Massachusetts; 1933; page 15.
Ambition is what will get a young man to the top if the boss has no daughter.
Changing Times magazine
ambitious (am BISH uhs) (adjective), more ambitious, most ambitious
1. Pertaining to a strong feeling of wanting to be successful in life and to achieve great things: Patrick was very ambitious and wanted to become a pilot ever since he was 9 years old and he succeeded in doing it!
2. A reference to an aim or objective that someone is trying to attain or to accomplish: The teacher, Mr. Evans, told his classes that ambitious students make the best grades
A young student is pursuing a goal or ambition to become an industrial leader.
Word Info image © ALL rights are reserved.

The scheme, or master plan, of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to build five new cities gives the term ambitious a new meaning.

—Bob Ghosh as seen in TIME; October 27, 2008; page 49.
ambivalence (am BIV uh luhns) (s) (noun), ambivalences (pl)
1. Behavior resulting from two incompatible motivations, often taking the form of a mixture of the two motivational tendencies: Charlene felt an ambivalence about her job since her previous supervisor retired and she now has one with a different approach to how things should be done.
2. The presence of two opposing ideas, attitudes, or emotions at the same time: Matthew has an ambivalence regarding where he should invest his money for his retirement.
3. A feeling of uncertainty about something because of a mental conflict: James was having an ambivalence about when he should have his hip operation because the doctor told him that he should try non-invasive treatments first.
A woman shows ambivalence towards her dog.
Word Info image © ALL rights are reserved.

Oh, Honeycup! How could my baby get so dirty!?
Stay down, you dirty dog! Don't jump on me!

When it comes to responding to the dog, the woman obviously has two ways of dealing with it.

—John Rayoa.
ambivalency (s) (noun), ambivalencies (pl)
Simultaneous and mixed feelings or attitudes toward an action, an object, or a person: The ambivalency and conflicting emotions which Nora had regarding her operation were quite evident because she knew it was absolutely necessary; however, she was quite afraid to have it done because the surgeon could not guarantee that it would have the desired results.
ambivalent (am BIV uh luhnt) (adjective), more ambivalent, most ambivalent
1. Pertaining to the coexistence in one person of contradictory emotions or attitudes; such as, love and hatred towards a person or thing: Mike has ambivalent feelings as to whether his new car is worth so much money.

Mary had been ambivalent about getting married during her early years; now, since she is thirty, she is eager to accept Leslie's proposal of marriage.

2. Relating to the uncertainty as to what course to follow; conveying an indecision: The senator had an ambivalent feeling about which way he would vote on the new bill.
Alternately having one opinion or feeling, and then the opposite feeling.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.

Related "around, round, surrounding" units: ampho-; circ-; circum-; cyclo-, -cycle; gyro-; peri-.