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 plurala 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 building will also contain a public space called DreamBank, which will host community events and have staff and resources to help people pursue their personal aspirations. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "American Family's new downtown Milwaukee office, with 400 workers, will redevelop historic King Drive building," 5 Dec. 2019 This panel will also cover defining and expressing your career aspirations., "Be heard," 3 Dec. 2019 Kreiz has made great strides in cutting costs at Mattel and is pumping life into its moviemaking aspirations, all of which are nascent. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Why Mattel’s New CEO Wants to Make a Live-Action Barbie," 26 Nov. 2019 Elizabeth Acevedo, who won a 2018 National Book Award for her YA debut The Poet X, propels Emoni along a journey of self-discovery as the high school senior strives to find a way to balance her career aspirations with providing for her family. Rebecca Katzman, Time, "The 10 Best YA and Children's Books of 2019," 25 Nov. 2019 With the victory, the Owls are in full control of their postseason aspirations. Khobi Price,, "FAU controls postseason fate after victory against UTSA," 24 Nov. 2019 Neither team finished well last week as Toledo lost late to Northern Illinois which hurt its conference aspirations. Chris Wassel, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Toledo-Buffalo odds: Bulls solid home favorites," 20 Nov. 2019 However, Dunlap put his literary aspirations on hold straight out of high school in favor of a more stable job at an engineering firm. Tricia Despres,, "After Overcoming Addiction, High School Maintenance Worker's Idea Becomes Hallmark Christmas Movie," 15 Nov. 2019 So that’s our aspiration: to make a West Side Story for the 21st century. Adam Green, Vogue, "How Ivo Van Hove Remixed West Side Story for the 21st Century," 9 Nov. 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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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

9 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Aspiration.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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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