as·​pire | \ ə-ˈspī(-ə)r How to pronounce aspire (audio) \
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

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Other Words from aspire

aspirer noun

Synonyms for aspire


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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 When everything around all of us feels unstable, there’s not only no shame in holding onto a job like that, there’s a whole lot to aspire to. Megan Greenwell, Wired, "Help! Should I Be More Ambitious?," 28 Apr. 2021 Okubo’s pictures aspire to be as elemental as the stars, suns and moons that appear in nearly all of them. Washington Post, "In the galleries: Building on an artwork expressed via different media," 23 Apr. 2021 Young entrepreneurs often aspire to lead from the front, demonstrating qualities that are admirable and unmatched by any of their peers. Yec, Forbes, "Budding Entrepreneurs Should Aim For Second Best," 21 Apr. 2021 One suspects some in Washington now aspire to follow the same playbook. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "The Permanent Truth About Temporary Inflation," 22 Apr. 2021 Forbes champions success by celebrating those who have made it, and those who aspire to make it. Forbes Press Releases, Forbes, "Forbes Releases 2021 30 Under 30 Asia List," 20 Apr. 2021 The Post is financially successful these days, but that’s partly because of a business strategy that requires the scale of a national or even global audience — something most regional papers can’t aspire to. Washington Post, "I’ve worked for two billionaires. Here’s my advice for rich people who want to buy a newspaper.," 17 Apr. 2021 And while most of these people can aspire to live independently and autonomously, their chances of doing so are still meager. Maria Alejandra Mejia,, "Equality, inclusion and diversity remain a utopia for those with autism | Opinion," 8 Apr. 2021 McClure wasn’t a broadcast major, like so many college grads who aspire to work at ESPN. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "How former Triple-A Academy star King McClure went from Baylor basketball to one of ESPN’s youngest analysts," 11 Mar. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for aspire

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for aspire

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aspire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce aspire (audio) \
aspired; aspiring

Kids Definition of aspire

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

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Comments on aspire

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