noun Also am·bush·ment.

  1. an act or instance of lying concealed so as to attack by surprise: The highwaymen waited in ambush near the road.
  2. an act or instance of attacking unexpectedly from a concealed position.
  3. the concealed position itself: They fired from ambush.
  4. those who attack suddenly and unexpectedly from a concealed position.

verb (used with object)

  1. to attack from ambush.


  1. the act of waiting in a concealed position in order to launch a surprise attack
  2. a surprise attack from such a position
  3. the concealed position from which such an attack is launched
  4. the person or persons waiting to launch such an attack


  1. to lie in wait (for)
  2. (tr) to attack suddenly from a concealed position

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.

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