as·pi·ra·tion | \ ˌas-pə-ˈrā-shən \

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

The film treats my family’s aspirations with the heavy handedness of people who are viewing an African American family through a lens lacking in cultural sensibilities. Liz Mcneil,, "Read Cissy Houston's Emotional Full Statement About Claim That Whitney Houston Was Molested," 11 July 2018 With the benefit of a UC education, these accomplished young people from different backgrounds, with diverse beliefs and aspirations, will make California and the world a better place. Teresa Watanabe,, "UC opens doors to record number of Californians, led by growth in transfer students," 11 July 2018 For a player with decent but not exceptional power, the severity of that flaw — over six seasons in the minor leagues, his strikeout rate is an astronomical 35.2 percent — continues to be a massive roadblock to any major-league aspirations. Ben Pope,, "Phillies prospect Jan Hernandez hopes all-star selection puts him 'on the map'," 11 July 2018 The ruling on the Nixon tapes sits in memory as a stunning fulfillment of the Supreme Court’s avowed aspirations to political neutrality. Dan Rodricks,, "Is Kavanaugh Trump's 'Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card'?," 10 July 2018 Speaking to reporters mid-morning in the Student Union, Whittaker, 56, said his values and aspirations for the university are similar to Hitt’s. Annie Martin,, "New UCF President Dale Whittaker vows to 'bring my own energy,' on first day," 2 July 2018 This isn't the first time Kardashian West has discussed political aspirations. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kim Kardashian Reveals She's Open to Running for Office One Day," 16 June 2018 Despite this sporting contribution, however, Pakistan’s exports as a whole have lagged behind the country’s aspirations. The Economist, "Pakistan faces a currency crisis. Who will help?," 14 June 2018 The leaders of the seven industrial powers had managed by Saturday to overcome their differences and cobble together a joint communique expressing common principles and economic aspirations. Damian Paletta, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump, White House advisers blast Canada's Trudeau in brutal aftermath of G-7 summit," 11 June 2018

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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Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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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 \

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 \

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 \ adjective

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Comments on aspiration

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the setting in which something occurs

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