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 Green New Deal is more policy aspirations than specifics, and projections of its astronomical cost mostly involve parts of the proposal not directly pertaining to a clean energy transformation. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Reversing Trump's climate change policies: Where the Dem presidential candidates stand," 13 Feb. 2020 Every city doesn’t have the breadth of diversity as this metropolis, but in most every modest town, there is a community of folks who thrill at individuality, lean into creative experimentation and feed off one another’s aspirations. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "Fashion Week celebrated what it means to dream — culminating in this one moving Marc Jacobs moment," 13 Feb. 2020 Though her appearances alongside Bong Joon Ho on various talk shows and red carpets, Choi, who has directing aspirations, has become something of a star herself. Sandra Gonzalez, CNN, "A round of applause for Sharon Choi, 'Parasite' director Bong Joon Ho's translator," 10 Feb. 2020 The broadcasts of recent years have exposed some of the contradictions between Hollywood’s universalist aspirations and its parochial realities. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "What the ‘Parasite’ Landslide Says About the Oscars: Our Critics Weigh In," 10 Feb. 2020 The Celtics are making me a believer in the idea that Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Hayward can function and flourish as players with overlapping skill sets and All-Star performance aspirations. Globe Staff,, "Celtics’ three wings can coexist and thrive, and other thoughts," 8 Feb. 2020 There are likely plenty of novelists whose literary aspirations don't involve elaborate world-building. Andrew Leonard, Wired, "A Code-Obsessed Novelist Builds a Writing Bot. The Plot Thickens," 6 Feb. 2020 The five charismatic members of ITZY -- Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, Yeji and Yuna -- sat down with Billboard recently at the final stop of their tour in Brooklyn to discuss their career, tour, aspirations and feelings toward their fandom, Midzy. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "ITZY, K-Pop's Rookie It Girls, Are Sharing Their Confident, Self-Love Message With the World," 5 Feb. 2020 Young people’s career aspirations are frequently misaligned with the education and qualifications required to achieve them, the OECD said. Carolynn Look,, "Too Many Teenagers Want to Become Lawyers or Managers," 22 Jan. 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

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aspiration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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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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