as·​pire | \ə-ˈspī(-ə)r \
aspired; aspiring

Definition of aspire 

intransitive verb

1 : to seek to attain or accomplish a particular goal She aspired to a career in medicine.

2 : ascend, soar

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from aspire

aspirer noun

Examples of aspire in a Sentence

aspire to great deeds, and you have a better chance of doing good deeds a tower aspiring towards the heavens

Recent Examples on the Web

This is the kind of single-molecule detection that scientists aspire to. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Big transistor senses the arrival of a single molecule," 29 Oct. 2018 Meanwhile, aspiring American dancer Susie (Dakota Johnson) has traveled to Germany to audition for the troupe. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Suspiria is an ambitious remix of a horror classic," 26 Oct. 2018 So one of her most satisfying creations was not a $20,000 dress for an upper-crust socialite but a mail-order catalog that aspired to deliver great quality at reasonable prices. Jesse Kornbluth, ELLE Decor, "Carolyne Roehm Is the O.G. Lifestyle Maven and Her New Book Shows Why She Still Inspires," 18 Oct. 2018 Luckily for aspiring royal fashionistas, Meghan's dress is back in stock and available to shop at Moda Operandi. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Wears a Green Brandon Maxwell Dress During Her Royal Tour of Australia," 16 Oct. 2018 To achieve this goal, movie houses historically opt for actors that represent society's idea of what people should aspire to. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "How "Crazy Rich Asians" Is Making History as a Romantic Comedy," 9 Aug. 2018 Zayn seems to aspire to the soul of Prince, or some cult '90s skate-punk figure, but is trapped in the trajectory of a Justin Timberlake. Carrie Battan, GQ, "How Do You Explain Zayn?," 18 June 2018 The tropes are still there: Harper, an aspiring journalist, is always eating, and the closing speech will eventually be sewn onto a pillow and shared on Pinterest. Rebecca Farley,, "The Director Of This Year's Cutest Rom-Com Is Determined To Revive The Romantic Comedy," 14 June 2018 Jack Thompson Phillips, 23, of Malvern, a recent college graduate who aspired to a career in environmental science, died Monday, June 4, of complications from brain cancer at his home. Bonnie L. Cook,, "Jack T. Phillips, 23, Penn State graduate who aspired to protect the environment," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aspire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of aspire

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aspire

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French aspirer, from Latin aspirare, literally, to breathe upon, from ad- + spirare to breathe

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aspire

Statistics for aspire

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aspire

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aspire



English Language Learners Definition of aspire

: to want to have or achieve something (such as a particular career or level of success)


as·​pire | \ə-ˈspīr \
aspired; aspiring

Kids Definition of aspire

: to very much want to have or achieve something aspire to greatness

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on aspire

What made you want to look up aspire? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!