as·​pi·​ra·​tion | \ ˌa-spə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aspiration (audio) \

Definition of aspiration

1a : a strong desire to achieve something high or great an aspiration to become famous usually plural a young man with political/literary aspirations
b : an object of such desire An acting career is her aspiration.
2 : a drawing of something in, out, up, or through by or as if by suction: such as
a : the act of breathing and especially of breathing in
b : the withdrawal (as by suction) of fluid or tissue from the body the aspiration of stomach fluids
c : the taking of foreign matter into the lungs with the respiratory current problems caused by the aspiration of fluids into the patient's lungs
3 linguistics
a : audible breath that accompanies or comprises a speech sound
b : the pronunciation or addition of an aspiration the aspiration of the letter "h" in "a house" also : the symbol of an aspiration

Choose the Right Synonym for aspiration

ambition, aspiration, pretension mean strong desire for advancement. ambition applies to the desire for personal advancement or preferment and may suggest equally a praiseworthy or an inordinate desire. driven by ambition aspiration implies a striving after something higher than oneself. an aspiration to become president someday pretension suggests ardent desire for recognition of accomplishment often without actual possession of the necessary ability and therefore may imply presumption. has literary pretensions

Examples of aspiration in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But in my opinion, quality of interaction is a much more desirable and fertile aspiration. Peter Schravemade, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 Bringing back domestic production is no longer a nostalgic aspiration. Evan Halper, Washington Post, 30 July 2022 Instead, a simple dignity to which any person is entitled is the visual baseline; illuminating human experience in America is the aspiration. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2022 That is not a typical aspiration of someone who teaches chemistry to undergraduates. New York Times, 11 July 2022 There was the aspiration, if not the reality, that such horrors might eventually lead to reforms. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 26 May 2022 The current exhibit highlights these disparities more pointedly than some of her other projects, but the redistribution of power and resources is a consistent aspiration apparent in her work. Anna Tingley, Variety, 18 Mar. 2022 Tasks that advance these objectives but aren't critical for either a duty or an aspiration. Katy Milkman, CNN, 22 July 2022 The first and most common is called vacuum aspiration, typically offered up to 13 weeks of pregnancy. Sony Salzman, ABC News, 19 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of aspiration

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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Time Traveler for aspiration

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The first known use of aspiration was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near aspiration

aspirating stroke



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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aspiration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for aspiration


as·​pi·​ra·​tion | \ ˌa-spə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aspiration (audio) \

Kids Definition of aspiration

1 : a strong desire to achieve something She left home with aspirations for a better life.
2 : something that one wants very much to achieve Fame has always been his aspiration.


as·​pi·​ra·​tion | \ ˌas-pə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce aspiration (audio) \

Medical Definition of aspiration

: a drawing of something in, out, up, or through by or as if by suction: as
a : the act of breathing and especially of breathing in
b : the withdrawal of fluid or friable tissue from the body
c : the taking of foreign matter into the lungs with the respiratory current

Other Words from aspiration

aspirational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce aspiration (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on aspiration

Nglish: Translation of aspiration for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aspiration for Arabic Speakers


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