ambit \ ˈam-bət \ noun
: an area in which something acts or operates or has power or control
The word ambit has appeared in nine articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Dec. 22 in the Opinion essay “Fashion Will Not Disappear. It Will Transform” by Rhonda Garelick:
To navigate the world during Covid-19, everyday transactions such as travel, attending school and entering businesses may require temperature checks, health questionnaires and perhaps even lab tests. Private bodily information is becoming a new shared currency — tokens exchanged for small freedoms. While such sharing raises serious privacy concerns, it also reminds us of the deep, physical connection among us all.
Could this be a good thing? Yes, if we pay attention.
We are learning that our bodies extend beyond their physical borders, mingling with the biological ambit of those around us. I might imagine, for example, that my spoken words or shouted greeting belong solely to me, but the airborne transmissibility of this virus teaches me otherwise. We now keenly grasp that one person’s speech, song or exhaled sigh has physical substance — those invisible particles that travel from one body into another, potentially bringing illness, even death. Of course, we’ve long understood viral transmission. But we’ve never contemplated it as vividly before. We’ve never had a starker lesson in our shared physicality.