Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:17 pm

<2018 “At a time when literary convention favors novelists who write narrowly about personal experience, Power’s ambit is refreshingly unfashionable, restoring to the form an authority it has shirked.”—The Atlantic, June, page 32>
‘Ambit’ is a small word with useful meaning, I like it, and I was surprised I was not already familiar with it.

Meriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary

ambit noun

1) circuit, compass, circumference <Everywhere within an ambit of four feet.>

2) a: The space surrounding a house, a castle, or a town; precincts. b: The bounds or limits of a place or district.

3) The sphere of action, expression, or influence extent, scope. <Going far outside his proper ambit as secretary.> <Ranges freely throughout the entire ambit of universal history.>

Origin: Middle English, from Latin ambitus going around, circuit, circular edge, from ambitus, past participle of ambire to go round — more at ‘ambient’

First Known Use: 1597 (sense 1)

Synonyms: range, amplitude, breadth, compass, confines, dimension(s), extent, reach, realm, scope, sweep, width

Related Words: gamut, spectrum, spread; bailiwick, circle, demesne, department, discipline, domain, element, fief, fiefdom, field, province, region, specialty, sphere, terrain; frontier; horizon, panorama

In searching for quotes I found 17,687 hits in one news archive, which is a huge number, but all the ones I could reasonably check there were part of the names of companies: Ambit Energy, Ambit Holdings Pvt. Ltd, Ambit Biosciences Inc., Ambit Alpha Fund, Ambit Bridge Loan Fund, Ambit Biosciences, Ambit Treasury Management, Ambit International, Ambit Microsystems, . . . .

The following quotes were found with some difficulty (also due to the swamping by company names) in various archived sources:

<2002 “But as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said, ‘it falls only within the outer ambit of the First Amendment's protection. . . .’”—Palo Verde Valley Times (Blythe, California), 16 August)>

<2004 “Perhaps more than what you wanted, but your question got me interested even though it is not strictly within the ambit of WWLand's mission statement.”—Wordwizard, post by Leif Thorvaldson, ambit (see 2nd post),10 March>

<2009 “Whether they are in the ambit covered by Madoff's alleged help to the SEC is not publicly known.”—The Daily Beast, 15 March>

<2012 “The Government has also been criticised for its intention to replace the boards of the National Library and the National Museum with a single advisory council operating within the ambit of Mr Deenihan's department.”—The Irish Times (Dublin, Ireland), 16 November>

<2016 “Furthermore, it is clear that the existing grounds of prohibited discrimination are susceptible to interpretation, thus potentially extending the ambit of the stated grounds.”—Defining Civil and Political Rights: The Jurisprudence of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, Edition 2 by Alex Conte and Richard Burchill>

<2018 “Of late, the Legion of Honor, which has as its primary ambit non-modern European art, has subjected museum-goers to ‘dialogues’ in which post-modern oddities are scattered throughout the halls of the museum's fine permanent collection.”—The American Conservative (Washington, D.C), 1 September>

Ken Greenwald – October 15, 2018

Re: ambit

Post by Phil White » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:14 pm

I still hear it occasionally, although I suspect that most people tend to use it with broadly the same meaning as "remit", with which it may well be being confused. Thinking about it, I suspect I have only heard it recently in the phrase "outside his ambit", where "remit" is quite probably more appropriate.
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

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