aspiration

noun as·pi·ra·tion \ ˌas-pə-ˈrā-shən \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of aspiration

1 a :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

Recent Examples of aspiration from the Web

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


ASPIRATION Defined for Kids

aspiration

noun as·pi·ra·tion \ ˌa-spə-ˈrā-shən \

Definition of aspiration for Students

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.

Medical Dictionary

aspiration

noun as·pi·ra·tion \ ˌas-pə-ˈrā-shən \

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

aspirational

play \-shnəl, -shən-ᵊl\ adjective


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up aspiration? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to conform or adhere

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!