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[am-byuh-luh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈæm byə ləˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
of, relating to, or capable of walking:
an ambulatory exploration of the countryside.
adapted for walking, as the limbs of many animals.
moving about or from place to place; not stationary:
an ambulatory tribe.
Also, ambulant. Medicine/Medical.
  1. not confined to bed; able or strong enough to walk:
    an ambulatory patient.
  2. serving patients who are able to walk:
    an ambulatory care center.
Law. not fixed; alterable or revocable:
ambulatory will.
noun, plural ambulatories.
Also called deambulatory. Architecture.
  1. an aisle surrounding the end of the choir or chancel of a church.
  2. the covered walk of a cloister.
Origin of ambulatory
1615-25; < Latin ambulātōrius, equivalent to ambulā-, stem of ambulāre (see amble) + -tōrius tory1
Related forms
ambulatorily, adverb
nonambulatory, adjective, noun, plural nonambulaties. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ambulatory
  • He was delirious for days, trying to get up when he was not ambulatory or even able to support himself sitting up.
  • It doesn't look lame at all, the creature in the image is clearly ambulatory.
  • Intensive breeding for rapid growth is responsible for their ambulatory problems.
  • The ambulatory services of the division evaluate and treat several hundred children for this disorder annually.
  • The ambulatory catfish are among the menagerie airport officials have had to clear from the tarmac.
  • These convulsive jolts occur as the dozen or so ambulatory slabs that make up the surface grind past one another.
  • Next was local education, followed by ambulatory health care, then insurance.
  • Most of the surgery is done in hospital outpatient departments or ambulatory surgical centers.
  • He reached another of those ambulatory bundles and examined it.
  • All organisms that are ambulatory have tactile senses of which pain is one of the more intense one.
British Dictionary definitions for ambulatory


of, relating to, or designed for walking
changing position; not fixed
Also ambulant. able to walk
(law) (esp of a will) capable of being altered or revoked
noun (pl) -ries
  1. an aisle running around the east end of a church, esp one that passes behind the sanctuary
  2. a place for walking, such as an aisle or a cloister
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ambulatory

"pertaining to walking;" also "shifting, not permanent," 1620s, from Latin ambulatorius "of or pertaining to a walker; movable," from ambulator, agent noun from past participle stem of ambulare "to walk" (see amble). Middle English had ambulary "movable" (mid-15c.).


from Medieval Latin ambulatorium, from Latin ambulatorius "movable," from ambulare (see amble).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ambulatory in Medicine

ambulatory am·bu·la·to·ry (ām'byə-lə-tôr'ē)

  1. Of, relating to, or adapted for walking.

  2. Capable of walking; not bedridden.

  3. Moving about.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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