Amba'ssadour. n.s. [ambassadeur, Fr. embaxador, Span. It is written differently, as it is supposed to come from the French or Spanish language; and the original derivation being uncertain, it is not easy to settle its orthography. Some derive it from the Hebrew בשר, to tell, and םבשר, a messenger; others from ambactus, which, in the old Gaulish, signified a servant; whence ambascia, in low Latin, is found to signify service, and ambasciator, a servant; others deduce it from ambacht, in old Teutonick, signifying a government, and Junius mentions a possibility of its descent from αναβαινω; and others from am for ad, and bassus, low, as supposing the act of sending an ambassadour, to be in some sort an act of submission. All these derivations lead to write ambassadour, not embassadour.]
A person sent in a publick manner from one sovereign power to another, and supposed to represent the power from which he is sent. The person of an ambassadour is inviolable.
Ambassador is, in popular language, the general name of a messenger from a sovereign power, and sometimes, ludicrously, from common persons. In the juridical and formal language, it signifies particularly a minister of the highest rank residing in another country, and is distinguished from an envoy, who is of less dignity.
Give first admittance to th' ambassadours. Shak. Hamlet.
Rais'd by these hopes, I sent no news before,
Nor ask'd you leave, nor did your faith implore;
But come, without a pledge, my own ambassadour. Dryden.
Oft have their black ambassadours appear'd
Loaden with gifts, and fill'd the courts of Zama. Add. Cato.