Ambition vs Vice - What's the difference?

ambition | vice |

As a noun ambition

is ambition for some particular achievement.

As an adverb vice is





  • (uncountable, countable) Eager or inordinate desire for some object that confers distinction, as preferment, honor, superiority, political power, or literary fame; desire to distinguish one's self from other people.
  • My son, John, wants to be a firefighter very much. He has a lot of ambition .
  • * Burke
  • the pitiful ambition of possessing five or six thousand more acres
  • (countable) An object of an ardent desire.
  • My ambition is to own a helicopter.
  • A desire, as in (sense 1), for another person to achieve these things.
  • (uncountable) A personal quality similar to motivation, not necessarily tied to a single goal.
  • (obsolete) The act of going about to solicit or obtain an office, or any other object of desire; canvassing.
  • * Milton
  • [I] used no ambition to commend my deeds.


    (en verb)
  • To seek after ambitiously or eagerly; to covet.
  • Pausanias, ambitioning the sovereignty of Greece, bargains with Xerxes for his daughter in marriage. — Trumbull.



    Etymology 1

    From (etyl), from (etyl), from (etyl) .


    (en noun)
  • A bad habit.
  • Smoking is a vice , not a virtue.
  • (legal) Any of various crimes related (depending on jurisdiction) to prostitution, pornography, gambling, alcohol, or drugs.
  • A defect in the temper or behaviour of a horse, such as to make the animal dangerous, to injure its health, or to diminish its usefulness.
  • * From the case of Scholefield v. Robb (1839).
  • Antonyms
    * (bad habit) virtue
    Derived terms
    * vice squad

    See also

    * habit

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) ; akin to English withy.

    Alternative forms

    * vise (US)


    (en noun)
  • A mechanical screw apparatus used for clamping or holding (also spelled vise).
  • A tool for drawing lead into cames, or flat grooved rods, for casements.
  • (obsolete) A grip or grasp.
  • * 1597 , , II. I. 22:
  • Fang. An I but fist him once; an a’ come but within my vice ,–


  • To hold or squeeze with a vice, or as if with a vice.
  • * 1610 , , I. ii. 416:
  • Camillo. As he had seen’t, or been an instrument / To vice you to't, that you have touched his queen / Forbiddenly
  • * De Quincey
  • The coachman's hand was viced between his upper and lower thigh.

    Etymology 3

    From (etyl) , ablative form of vicis.


    vice (no comparative or superlative)
  • in place of; subordinate to; designating a person below another in rank
  • vice president
    vice admiral
    Derived terms
    * vice admiral * vice governor * vice mayor * vice president


  • instead of, in place of
  • A. B. was appointed postmaster vice C. D. resigned.