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[am-bee-uh nt] /ˈæm bi ənt/
of the surrounding area or environment:
The tape recorder picked up too many ambient noises. The temperature in the display case was 20° lower than the ambient temperature.
completely surrounding; encompassing:
the ambient air.
creating a certain reaction or mood, often a subconscious one, by being wherever people tend to be:
ambient advertising on a shopping cart.
pertaining to or noting sounds that create a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere.
pertaining to or noting close and constant social contact and communication fostered by the Internet or the use of digital devices:
social-networking sites that enable ambient intimacy and awareness.
ambient music (def 1).
Origin of ambient
1590-1600; (< Middle French) < Latin ambient- (stem of ambiēns, present participle of ambīre to go around), equivalent to amb- ambi- + -i- go + -ent- -ent
Related forms
unambient, adjective
unambiently, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ambient
  • These focus ambient light on to the viewing area to brighten the screen.
  • The ambient light is natural daylight, and so the cases can be lit on very low levels.
  • These pointed spires, that wound the ambient sky.
  • Even the accompanying music and ambient sounds make you feel as if you are in Japan.
  • As the ambient pressure keeps falling, the trapped bubbles expand further and may block off an artery.
  • The reading in the voltmeter should be within the range for the ambient temperature if no trouble exists.
  • The headphones sample ambient noise and emit a signal to cancel the noise.
  • In cold-blooded animals, body cooling is easy--you merely drop the ambient temperature in their surroundings.
  • They're really ambient sounds designed to affect your brain waves.
  • When we read a paper book, the ambient light is reflected off the pages.
British Dictionary definitions for ambient


of or relating to the immediate surroundings: the ambient temperature was 15°C
creating a relaxing atmosphere: ambient music
(informal) ambient music
Word Origin
C16: from Latin ambiēns going round, from ambīre, from ambi- + īre to go
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 ambient

1590s, "surrounding, encircling," from Latin ambientem (nominative ambiens) "going round," present participle of ambire "to go around," from amb- "around" (see ambi-) + ire "go" (see ion). The ground sense of "revolving" led to "encircling, lying all around."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ambient in Medicine

ambient am·bi·ent (ām'bē-ənt)
Surrounding; encircling.

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