as·​pi·​rate | \ ˈa-sp(ə-)rət How to pronounce aspirate (audio) \

Definition of aspirate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an independent sound \h\ or a character (such as the letter h) representing it
2 : a consonant having aspiration as its final component in English the \p\ of pit is an aspirate
3 : material removed by aspiration


as·​pi·​rate | \ ˈa-spə-ˌrāt How to pronounce aspirate (audio) \
aspirated; aspirating

Definition of aspirate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to pronounce (a vowel or a consonant) with aspiration (see aspiration sense 3a)
2a : to draw by suction
b : to remove (something such as blood) by aspiration
c : to take into the lungs by aspiration

Examples of aspirate in a Sentence

Noun The word “hour” is not pronounced with an aspirate. Verb The letter “h” in “house” is aspirated, but the “h” in “hour” is not. She began coughing when she aspirated some orange juice.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun According to veterinary oncologists, a fine needle aspirate to see what kinds of cells it’s made of is almost always in order in these cases. Dr. Patty Khuly, miamiherald, 5 July 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Mayo Clinic recommends breathing through your mouth and avoiding forceful inhales so that your don't lodge the object further up or aspirate it into your airway. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, 7 July 2021 In all of these scenarios, people frequently vomit and aspirate, bringing fluid into the lungs. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, 16 Oct. 2020 If the breast imaging reveals your lump is fluid-filled and therefore a cyst, the doctor may choose to aspirate it, which involves sticking a needle in the cyst to drain the fluid. Jenny Mccoy, Glamour, 1 Oct. 2020 Instead Buck wanted to slam him with meth: put the needle in his arm, aspirate the vein and shoot the dose. Jesse Barron, New York Times, 16 Sep. 2020 The original car was based on the V12 Vantage, but this one is based on the more powerful V12 S, with a version of Aston’s sonorous naturally aspirated 5.9-liter V-12 engine, retuned to deliver 591 horsepower. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 21 Apr. 2020 The new Corvette makes 495 horsepower from a mid-mounted, naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8, does zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds, and starts at $64,995. Connor Hoffman, Car and Driver, 6 Apr. 2020 Our people are not dying from a foreign war on foreign soil, but aspirating surrounded by strange faces in hospital rooms down the street. Chastity Pratt, Detroit Free Press, 5 Apr. 2020 Doctors can use saline to aspirate fluid from the nose with a catheter instead. Matthew Herper, STAT, 21 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aspirate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aspirate


1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1700, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aspirate


Latin aspiratus, past participle of aspirare

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Time Traveler for aspirate

Time Traveler

The first known use of aspirate was in 1617

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Dictionary Entries Near aspirate



aspirating stroke

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Cite this Entry

“Aspirate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for aspirate



English Language Learners Definition of aspirate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the sound of the letter "h"



English Language Learners Definition of aspirate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to pronounce (a letter or word) with the sound of a breath or the letter "h"
: to remove (liquid) from a person's body
: to breathe (liquid, food, etc.) into your lungs


transitive verb
as·​pi·​rate | \ ˈas-pə-ˌrāt How to pronounce aspirate (audio) \
aspirated; aspirating

Medical Definition of aspirate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to draw by suction
2 : to remove (as blood) by aspiration the portal vein is exposed and blood is aspirated with a 50-ml. syringeBiological Abstracts
3 : inhale aspirated material into the respiratory tractAnesthesia Digest


as·​pi·​rate | \ ˈas-p(ə-)ret How to pronounce aspirate (audio) \

Medical Definition of aspirate (Entry 2 of 2)

: material removed by aspiration

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