as·​pi·​ra·​tion | \ ˌas-pə-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

Cox had grown up in a family with upper-crust aspirations; his father was an insurance manager who always drove a current-model BMW. Rachel Monroe, The Atlantic, "The True-Crime Writer in Cellblock B4," 16 July 2019 So just coming here with championship aspirations is different. Mark Medina, The Mercury News, "Alec Burks details how Paul George trade led to Warriors signing," 12 July 2019 Expectations for the 20-year-old to help lead a Michigan State basketball team with sky-high aspirations are clear. Greg Levinsky, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball's Xavier Tillman transitioning into leader," 10 July 2019 There are going to be a plethora of teams with championship aspirations—the Nuggets, Rockets, Blazers, Thunder, Lakers, Bucks, Sixers, and Raptors. Rohan Nadkarni,, "NBA Free Agency Winners and Losers: Sign-and-Trades, Celtics Haters and More," 2 July 2019 On screen in the world of Beacon Heights, Sydney portrays Caitlin Park-Lewis, the daughter of a senator with huge aspirations of her own. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Sydney Park's Best Style Looks, From Casual Chic to Those Suits," 19 May 2019 Alex is the bookish student with fashion aspirations, while Janine is a rising model with an overbearing momager (played by Kathie Lee Gifford) -- and each person has the life that the other wants. Shanté Honeycutt, Billboard, "Boy Band Flashback: When *NSYNC-Era Justin Timberlake Played a Teen Heartthrob in TV Movie 'Model Behavior'," 25 Apr. 2018 For a team that started the season with high aspirations, their clubhouse has been loaded with fringe big leaguers tasked with getting big outs. Peter Abraham,, "This Red Sox bullpen isn’t cutting it. Will Dave Dombrowski fix it?," 1 July 2019 For a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, the Predators offense was inexplicably hopeless. The Si Staff,, "A Question for Each NHL Team to Answer in the Offseason," 30 June 2019

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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Statistics for aspiration

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aspiration

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

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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 aspirational (audio) \ adjective

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