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From Old French verb enbuscier, anbuchier (whence the Middle French noun embusche), from Old French en- + Vulgar Latin boscus, bosca, boscum (wood), from Frankish *boscu, *busk (bush), from Proto-Germanic *busk- (bush, heavy stick). Compare ambuscade. The change to am- from earlier forms in en- is unexplained. More at bush.



ambush (plural ambushes)

  1. The act of concealing oneself and lying in wait to attack by surprise.
  2. An attack launched from a concealed position.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege / Or ambush from the deep.
  3. The troops posted in a concealed place, for attacking by surprise; those who lie in wait.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible, Joshua 8:19
      The ambush arose quickly out of their place.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


ambush (third-person singular simple present ambushes, present participle ambushing, simple past and past participle ambushed)

  1. (transitive) To station in ambush with a view to surprise an enemy.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
      By ambushed men behind their temple laid / We have the king of Mexico betrayed.
  2. (transitive) To attack by ambush; to waylay.


Further reading[edit]

  • ambush at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • ambush in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911