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

But by 2013, with the shuttle program grounded and America’s half century of space aspirations having ended with bangs and whimpers, 39A was rusting away and weeds were growing through its flame trench. Walter Isaacson, New York Times, "In This Space Race, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk Are Competing to Take You There," 24 Apr. 2018 Full moons offer deep, rich insight into specific areas of life, and this month, the full moon electrifies your career zone, reflecting nocturnal illumination on your professional aspirations. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What June's Aries Horoscope Means for You," 29 May 2018 The Jays can definitely fight for the AL’s second wild card, but maybe folks should slow down on those division crown aspirations. Lorenzo Arguello,, "MLB Power Rankings: Yankees, Phillies and Brewers On the Rise," 26 Apr. 2018 The first six-episode season aired in 2015 on Britain’s ITV Encore and was originally going to be brought to to the US by A&E, who acquired the show and then seemingly gave up on its prestige drama aspirations. Lincoln Michel, GQ, "The Great Bingeable Gothic Mystery on Netflix," 17 Mar. 2018 Some economist say the drop was just a blip, but others cite factors that may be putting a damper on buyers' aspirations. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "It's getting harder to find a home to buy. Here's why.," 26 Feb. 2018 Too many key rising Democratic stars are focused on their own presidential aspirations, rather than the rebuilding of the party. Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, "Can Donald Trump, the Most Unpopular President Ever, Save Republicans From a Massive Defeat in 2018?," 21 Feb. 2018 His mom later quit her six-figure job to focus on his skating aspirations. Leanna Commins, Cosmopolitan, "11 Things to Know About Vincent Zhou, Team USA's Youngest Figure Skater," 5 Jan. 2018 That is not to say Tebow doesn’t have big-league aspirations. Justin Tasch,, "Tim Tebow's mother lobbies for her son to be called up to the big leagues and play for the New York Mets," 12 July 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

11 Nov 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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playful or foolish behavior

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