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

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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 For the Mexico City native, with roots in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, music as a zealous aspiration came long before acting. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "‘Godzilla vs. Kong’s’ Eiza González is a star in Mexico. Why do so few know her in the U.S.?," 2 Apr. 2021 And in each of these productions, one finds much to admire, in the aspiration to push the boundaries of theatrical storytelling. Washington Post, "As live stages await their big comeback, theater on camera is getting better and better," 2 Apr. 2021 Biden, of course, has announced reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 as an aspiration. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy, presented by Bipartisan Policy Center: Biden's climate agenda could pose early test in EPA and White House dynamic," 12 Mar. 2021 The sense of common good must return and equal opportunity can become our nation’s aspiration. Peter Georgescu, Forbes, "Billionaires Profit During Pandemic While Masses Suffer," 4 Mar. 2021 My guiding principle has less to do with utility and more to do with aspiration. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Kicking off the new year with a screen cleanse," 5 Jan. 2021 Lady Danbury understands such a world is aspirational and not reflective of reality, but Simon has an opportunity to further that aspiration. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "What Netflix's buzzy 'Bridgerton' says about race: 'We wanted this show to reflect the world'," 28 Dec. 2020 That aspiration, Becker said, continues for generations. San Diego Union-Tribune, "The U.S. asylum system is broken. How could it be reimagined?," 27 Dec. 2020 That aspiration was made harder by the loss of Crimea, where residents were largely Russia-leaning. Ilya Arkhipov,, "Putin’s Man in Ukraine Is Making Gains Even as War Grinds On," 23 Dec. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of aspiration

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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Time Traveler for aspiration

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for aspiration

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aspiration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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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

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