From Late Middle English ambyte, borrowed from Latin ambitus (“circuit; circumference, perimeter; area within a perimeter; ground around a building; cycle, orbit, revolution”) (compare Late Latin ambitus (“neighbourhood; wall of a castle, monastery, or town; cloister; parish boundary”)), from ambīre + -tus (suffix forming action nouns from verbs). Ambīre is the present active infinitive of ambiō (“to go around, to skirt; to encircle, surround”), from ambi- (“prefix meaning ‘both, on both sides’”) (possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ent- (“front; face; forehead”)) + eō (“to go, move”) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁ey- (“to go”)). The English word is a doublet of ambitus.
ambit (plural ambits)
- (obsolete) Chiefly in the plural form ambits: the open space surrounding a building, town, etc.; the grounds or precincts of a place.
- Synonym: (of a house) curtilage
- (archaic) The boundary around a building, town, region, etc.
- (archaic, rare) The circumference of something circular; also, an arc; a circuit, an orbit.
- (by extension)
- The extent of actions, thoughts, or the meaning of words, etc.
- The area or sphere of control and influence of something.
- 1913, Gilbert Parker, “‘The Alpine Fellow’”, in The Judgment House […], uniform edition, Toronto, Ont.: The Copp, Clark Co., OCLC 719770515, book IV, pages 412–413:
- He had invited Destiny to sweep him up in her reaping, by placing himself in the ambit of her scythe; but the sharp reaping-hook had passed him by.
ambit m inan