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[am-byuh-luh ns] /ˈæm byə ləns/
a specially equipped motor vehicle, airplane, ship, etc., for carrying sick or injured people, usually to a hospital.
(formerly) a field hospital.
Origin of ambulance
1800-10; < French, equivalent to (hôpital) ambul(ant) walking (hospital) + -ance -ance. See ambulant Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ambulance
  • The damage to his upper lip was so bad they had to be taken to the emergency room by ambulance and he had to have plastic surgery.
  • On top of that, the app has a built-in emergency button so people in need can easily be located by an ambulance or the police.
  • Some people even use a rickshaw instead of an ambulance.
  • Another is an unmanned ambulance to take the wounded off the battlefield.
  • As soon as an ambulance is dispatched, another is sent from a lower-ranking post to replace it.
  • Paramedics in an ambulance rushed to the dugout from center field.
  • By the time he came out of it, he was in an ambulance.
  • Later in the day they also stopped a suicide-bomber from driving an ambulance full of explosives into anything worthwhile.
  • Quiet is better than loud so you could hear ambulance siren better.
  • He said she was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
British Dictionary definitions for ambulance


a motor vehicle designed to carry sick or injured people
Word Origin
C19: from French, based on (hôpital) ambulant mobile or field (hospital), from Latin ambulāre to walk
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 ambulance

1798, "mobile or field hospital," from French (hôpital) ambulant, literally "walking (hospital)," from Latin ambulantem (nominative ambulans), present participle of ambulare "to walk" (see amble).

AMBULANCE, s. f. a moveable hospital. These were houses constructed in a manner so as to be taken to pieces, and carried from place to place, according to the movements of the army; and served as receptacles in which the sick and wounded men might be received and attended. ["Lexicographica-Neologica Gallica" (The Neological French Dictionary), William Dupré, London, 1801]
The word was not common in English until the meaning transferred from "field hospital" to "vehicle for conveying wounded from field" (1854) during the Crimean War. In late 19c. U.S. the word was used dialectally to mean "prairie wagon." Ambulance-chaser as a contemptuous term for a type of lawyer dates from 1897.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ambulance in Medicine

ambulance am·bu·lance (ām'byə-ləns)
A specially equipped vehicle used to transport the sick or injured.

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