October 17, 2008
AMBIT – n. the scope, extent, or bounds of something.
Rather disappointingly, most search results for ambit are information sites for the quasi-pyramid scheme electricity company Ambit Energy.
However, no good word is without its good uses, and ambit pops up in a few other interesting places as well. For one, Ambit is a literary magazine published in the UK. Ambit Gambit is a fairly interesting political blog.
For an example of usage, check out this quote from Samuel Alito:
“There is no categorical ‘harassment exception’ to the First Amendment’s free speech clause. There is of course no question that non-expressive, physically harassing conduct is entirely outside the ambit of the free speech clause. But there is also no question that the free speech clause protects a wide variety of speech that listeners may consider deeply offensive, including statements that impugn another’s race or national origin or that denigrate religious beliefs.”
A related term is the law term, ambit claim, which is “an extravagant initial demand made in expectation of an eventual counter-offer and compromise”. I see this done all the time and now I finally know what to call it! I’m gonna sound so smart!