Words related to *ambhi-
It forms all or part of: advance; advantage; along; ancestor; ancient (adj.); answer; Antaeus; ante; ante-; ante meridiem; antecede; antecedent; antedate; antediluvian; ante-partum; antepenultimate; anterior; anti-; antic; anticipate; anticipation; antique; antler; avant-garde; elope; end; rampart; un- (2) prefix of reversal; until; vambrace; vamp (n.1) "upper of a shoe or boot;" vanguard.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit antah "end, border, boundary;" Hittite hanti "opposite;" Greek anta, anten "opposite," anti "over against, opposite, before;" Latin ante (prep., adv.) "before (in place or time), in front of, against;" Old Lithuanian anta "on to;" Gothic anda "along;" Old English and- "against;" German ent- "along, against."
Middle English aboute, from Old English abutan (adv., prep.), earlier onbutan "on the outside of; around the circumference of, enveloping; in the vicinity of, near; hither and thither, from place to place," also "with a rotating or spinning motion," in late Old English "near in time, number, degree, etc., approximately;" a compound or contraction of on (see on; also see a- (1)) + be "by" (see by) + utan "outside," from ut (see out (adv.)).
By c. 1300 it had developed senses of "around, in a circular course, round and round; on every side, so as to surround; in every direction;" also "engaged in" (Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?), and gradually it forced out Old English ymbe, ymbutan (from PIE root *ambhi- "around") in the sense "round about, in the neighborhood of."
From mid-13c. as "in the matter, in connection with." From early 14c. as "in partial rotation, so as to face in a different direction." From late 14c. as "near at hand, about one's person." "In a circuitous course," hence "on the move" (late 13c.), and in Middle English "be about to do, be busy in preparation for," hence its use as a future participle in (to be) about to "in readiness, intending." Abouts (late 14c.), with adverbial genitive, still found in hereabouts, etc., probably is a northern dialectal form.
To bring about "cause or affect" and to come about "happen" are from late 14c. About face as a military command (short for right about face) is first attested 1861, American English.
mid-14c., "passage in a house; open passage between buildings; walkway in a garden," from Old French alee (13c., Modern French allée) "a path, passage, way, corridor," also "a going," from fem. of ale, past participle of aler "to go," which is of uncertain origin. It might be a contraction of Latin ambulare "to walk" (Watkins, see amble (v.)), or it might be from Gallo-Roman allari, a back-formation from Latin allatus "having been brought to" [Barnhart]. Compare sense evolution of gate.
Applied by c. 1500 to "long narrow enclosure for playing at bowls, skittles, etc." Used in place names from c. 1500. "In U.S. applied to what in London is called a Mews" [OED], and in American English especially of a back-lane parallel to a main street (1729). To be up someone's alley "in someone's neighborhood" (literally or figuratively) is from 1931; alley-cat (n.) is attested by 1890.
Compare embassy. Forms in am- and em- were used indiscriminately in English 17c.-18c. Until 1893 the United States sent and received none, having only ministers (often called ambassadors), who represented the state, not the sovereign.
also ambidexterous, "able to use both hands equally," 1640s, with -ous + Medieval Latin ambidexter, literally "right-handed on both sides," from ambi- "both, on both sides" (see ambi-) + dexter "right-handed" (from PIE root *deks- "right; south"). An earlier English use of ambidexter (adj.) meant "double-dealer, one who takes both sides in a conflict" (late 14c.).
Its opposite, ambilevous "left-handed on both sides," hence "clumsy" (1640s) is rare. Ambidexter as a noun is attested from 1530s (in the sense "one who takes bribes from both sides") and is the earliest form of the word in English; its sense of "one who uses both hands equally well" appears by 1590s.