ambulance


ambulance
\ \ [19] Originally, ambulance was a French term for a field hospital – that is, one set up at a site convenient for a battlefield, and capable of being moved on to the next battlefield when the army advanced (or retreated). In other words, it was an itinerant hospital, and the ultimate source of the term is the Latin verb ambulārewalk’ (as in amble). The earliest recorded term for such a military hospital in French was the 17th-century hôpital ambulatoire. This was later replaced by hôpital ambulant, literally ‘walking hospital’, and finally, at the end of the 18th century, by ambulance. This sense of the word had died out by the late 19th century, but already its attributive use, in phrases such as ambulance cart and ambulance wagon, had led to its being used for a vehicle for carrying the wounded or sick.
\ \ Cf.ACID, ALACRITY, AMBLE, PERAMBULATOR

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ambulance — [ ɑ̃bylɑ̃s ] n. f. • 1752; de ambulant 1 ♦ Anciennt (jusqu en 1940) Hôpital militaire ambulant; formation sanitaire équipée de voitures légères, chargée des premiers soins aux blessés. « Des ambulances qui étaient dirigées par des médecins… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ambulance — au Québec (Canada) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ambulance — Am bu*lance, n. [F. ambulance, h[^o]pital ambulant, fr. L. ambulare to walk. See {Amble}.] (Mil.) (a) A field hospital, so organized as to follow an army in its movements, and intended to succor the wounded as soon as possible. Often used… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ambulance — (n.) 1809, mobile or field hospital, from Fr. (hôpital) ambulant, lit. walking (hospital), from L. ambulantem (nom. ambulans), prp. of ambulare to walk (see AMBLE (Cf. amble)). The word was not common in English until the meaning transferred from …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ambulance — (fr., spr. Angbülangs), so v.w. Fliegendes Lazareth, s. u. Hospital, vgl. Sanitätscompagnie …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Ambulance — (frz., –bülangs), das Feldlazareth im Kriege, hinter der Schlachtlinie, aufgestellt u. so eingerichtet, daß es möglichst schnell transportirt werden kann; es ist durch rothe Fahnen bezeichnet, damit der Feind es nicht absichtlich mit dem… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • ambulance — [n] emergency vehicle EMS, hospital wagon, rescue, transport; concept 505 …   New thesaurus

  • ambulance — ► NOUN ▪ a vehicle equipped for taking sick or injured people to and from hospital. ORIGIN French, from hôpital ambulant mobile field hospital , from Latin ambulare walk …   English terms dictionary

  • ambulance — [am′byə ləns, am′byo͞oləns] n. [Fr < ( hôpital) ambulant < prp. of L ambulare: see AMBLE] 1. Obs. a mobile field hospital 2. a specially equipped automobile or other vehicle for carrying the sick or wounded …   English World dictionary

  • Ambulance — For other uses, see Ambulance (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • ambulance — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ air, field, land ▪ He had to be flown by air ambulance to a Las Vegas hospital. ▪ emergency (esp. BrE) ▪ waiting …   Collocations dictionary


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