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 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

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 Spa reflect that aspiration for a luxury experience, with services starting at $260 for a 60-minute massage and $270 for a 60-minute facial. Melissa Yeager, The Arizona Republic, 29 July 2021 With the growth of Africa’s middle class, there will be a greater aspiration for convenience, including consuming disposable goods, resulting in greater pressure on the environment. Meron Demisse, Quartz, 21 Apr. 2022 For now, though, Njie is focused on a shorter-term, more personal aspiration: Securing his green card. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 24 Mar. 2022 His aspiration hadn’t changed: Hell of a ballplayer, Robinson, and just one of the guys. Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2022 Our aspiration is to create locally relevant and the most authentic content that will resonate with consumers. Patrick Frater, Variety, 13 Mar. 2022 Iranian powerlifter Danial Zamani regularly shows off his strength on his Instagram, and has made no secret of his aspiration to be the first man to bench press 800 pounds raw (without the aid of tools like a lifting shirt). Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 22 Feb. 2022 This lighter, more fulfilled and focused Beckham has seen his journey bring him to the doorstep of fulfilling his lifelong aspiration. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, 9 Feb. 2022 The company has made significant investments toward its aspiration of becoming a hardware giant, including hiring over 10,000 people and rebranding itself to Meta. Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of aspiration

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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Time Traveler for aspiration

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

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Dictionary Entries Near aspiration

aspirating stroke



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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aspiration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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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 aspiration (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on aspiration

Nglish: Translation of aspiration for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aspiration for Arabic Speakers


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