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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Dictator Nariño had broken completely with the ambulatory congress, and was sending his troops into the adjacent provinces.

  • He had met her by chance in the ambulatory on her way from Brother Bonaday's rooms.

    Brother Copas Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • Over the choir, consisting of one large bay, are intersecting ribs that appear to be posterior to those of the ambulatory.

    How France Built Her Cathedrals Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly
  • The poet is greater than man: he is nature on two legs,—ambulatory.

    How Spring Came in New England Charles Dudley Warner
  • It is much broader; broader indeed than the ambulatory which leads to it, and is covered by barrel vaults.

    Byzantine Churches in Constantinople Alexander Van Millingen
  • There is a central apse, an ambulatory, out of which radiate five chapels.

  • This arrangement enables us to enjoy the glazing of the ambulatory and the choir chapels from all parts of the building.

    Stained Glass Tours in France Charles Hitchcock Sherrill
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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