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From French embuscade, from Italian imboscata from the past participle of imboscare (to ambush), from Vulgar Latin *imbosco (I hide, ambush) (see there for more), from Frankish *busk (bush), from Proto-Germanic *buskaz (bush, heavy stick). Compare ambush. More at bush.


  • IPA(key): /ˈæmbəsˌkeɪd/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪd


ambuscade (plural ambuscades)

  1. (dated) An ambush; a trap laid for an enemy.
    • 1883, Harper's Magazine
      The plot of the tragedy at hand was the very old one of the decoy and the ambuscade []
    • 1904, Frederick William Rolfe, Hadrian the Seventh[1], New York: The New York Review of Books, published 2001, →ISBN, page 9:
      The yellow cat deliberately stretched himself, yawned, and followed; and proceeded to carry out a wonderful scheme of feints and ambuscades in regard to a ping-pong ball which was kept for his proper diversion.
    • 1999 September 30, Ensemble Studios, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, Microsoft, Windows PC, level/area: An Unlikely Messiah:
      De Metz: An ambuscade! There are Burgundian soldiers everywhere! Hurry west to the river, where we can made[sic] our escape!
  2. The place in which troops lie hidden for an ambush.
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe[2], Oxford: Oxford World's Classics, published 1719, →ISBN, page 143:
      I went so far with it in my Imagination, that I employed my self several days to find out proper Places to put my self in Ambuscade
  3. The body of troops lying in ambush.

Derived terms[edit]



ambuscade (third-person singular simple present ambuscades, present participle ambuscading, simple past and past participle ambuscaded)

  1. (dated) To lie in wait for, or to attack from a covert or lurking place; to waylay.
    • 1849, Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, James R. Osgood (1873), page 228:
      About noon we passed a small village in Merrimack at Thornton's Ferry, and tasted of the waters of Naticook Brook on the same side, where French and his companions, whose grave we saw in Dunstable, were ambuscaded by the Indians.
    • 1849, Roswell Sabine Ripley, The War with Mexico, Volume I, Harper & Brothers (1849), page 106:
      On the return to camp, the party was ambuscaded and dispersed, the officer and one man having been killed.
    • 1923, Carl Sandburg, film review dated 18 May 1923, re-printed in The Movies Are: Carl Sandburg's Film Reviews and Essays, 1920-1928 (ed. Arnie Bernstein), Lake Claremont Press (2000), →ISBN, page 169:
      But aside from its love story, the picture is filled with the fighting and shooting, fording rivers with wagon trains, Indians ambuscading wagon trains, scouts who drink whisky and fight and ride magnificently.