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[am-boo sh] /ˈæm bʊʃ/
noun, Also, ambushment
an act or instance of lying concealed so as to attack by surprise:
The highwaymen waited in ambush near the road.
an act or instance of attacking unexpectedly from a concealed position.
the concealed position itself:
They fired from ambush.
those who attack suddenly and unexpectedly from a concealed position.
verb (used with object)
to attack from ambush.
Origin of ambush
1250-1300; (v.) Middle English enbuss(h)en < Middle French embuschier to place men in ambush, literally, to set in the woods, equivalent to em- im-1 + busch- (< Vulgar Latin *busca wood, forest < Germanic *busk- heavy stick) + -ier infinitive suffix; (noun) earlier enbusshe < Middle French embusche, derivative of the v.
Related forms
ambusher, noun
ambushlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ambush
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I will bring thee to the place in the early morning, and set thee in ambush to await his coming.

  • The rest of the party were to remain in ambush until the return of the others.

    The Wild Man of the West R.M. Ballantyne
  • The Chief's warriors would intercept, ambush and annihilate every war party headed for his camp.

    Myths and Legends of the Sioux Marie L. McLaughlin
  • It was not wise now, nor could he shoot even a renegade from ambush.

    The Eyes of the Woods Joseph A. Altsheler
  • They're of the same kidney that drove General Herkimer into the ambush, an' are tryin' to force the colonel to surrender.

British Dictionary definitions for ambush


the act of waiting in a concealed position in order to launch a surprise attack
a surprise attack from such a position
the concealed position from which such an attack is launched
the person or persons waiting to launch such an attack
to lie in wait (for)
(transitive) to attack suddenly from a concealed position
Derived Forms
ambusher, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French embuschier to position in ambush, from em-im- + -buschier, from busche piece of firewood, probably of Germanic origin; see bush1
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 ambush

c.1300, from Old French embuscher (13c., Modern French embûcher) "to lay an ambush," from en- "in" + busch "wood," apparently from Frankish *busk "bush, woods" (see bush (n.)). Related: Ambushed; ambushing.


late 15c., embushe, from the English verb or from Middle French embusche, from Old French embuscher (see ambush (v.)). Earlier was ambushment (late 14c.). Figurative use by 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ambush in Technology

A language for linear programming problems in a materials processing and transportation network.
["AMBUSH - An Advanced Model Builder for Linear Programming", T.R. White et al, National Petroleum Refiners Assoc Comp Conf (Nov 1971)].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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ambush in the Bible

Joshua at the capture of Ai lay in ambush, and so deceived the inhabitants that he gained an easy victory (Josh. 8:4-26). Shechem was taken in this manner (Judg. 9:30-45. Comp. Jer. 51:12).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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