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

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Other Words from aspire

aspirer noun

Synonyms for aspire


aim, allow [chiefly Southern & Midland], calculate, contemplate, design, go [chiefly Southern & Midland], intend, look, mean, meditate, plan, propose, purport, purpose

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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

An aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic (Jack Nicholson!) accepts a position as an off-season caretaker of a historic hotel and moves his wife (Shelley Duvall!) and son with him. Vogue, "16 TV Shows and Movies to Get You in the Mood for Halloween," 1 Oct. 2018 Lily Genovese is a 16-year-old high school junior and an aspiring writer. Lily Genovese, Glamour, "8 Things You Should Know About High School Feminists," 7 Aug. 2018 Other initiatives target young people, such as Lake Erie Ink, which teaches a variety of writing genres to children in after-school and summer programs, while TLA is aimed at giving voice to a greater diversity of aspiring writers. Christopher Johnston, The Christian Science Monitor, "Cleveland uses literature to empower youth, overcome social divides," 9 July 2018 Once an aspiring writer, Marlo (Theron) is now hugely pregnant with her third child and exasperated beyond endurance by her second, Jonah, whose kindergarten teachers are complaining about his neurotic meltdowns in class. J.r. Jones, Chicago Reader, "Like Juno, Diablo Cody's Tully is a tale of motherhood and waning youth," 10 May 2018 Burnett’s parents, Creighton Burnett, an aspiring writer, and Joseph Burnett, a movie theater manager, moved west from San Antonio in the 1930s, drawn to the bright lights of Los Angeles., "Anonymous Strangers Helped Carol Burnett Go from Poverty to Superstardom," 3 May 2018 In addition to the GI named Jerry, who aspires to be a painter, there’s fellow war veteran Adam, a musician. Tim Smith,, "Stage version of classic film 'An American in Paris' heads to Hippodrome," 28 Apr. 2018 But that is surely no bad thing in somebody who aspires to the top job. The Economist, "Amber Rudd finds herself in a hostile environment," 28 Apr. 2018 Now, a new series of more than a dozen programs aimed at aspiring writers and political advocates from preschool through high school. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "7 Things to Do With Your Kids in NYC This Weekend," 19 Apr. 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.

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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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Statistics for aspire

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for aspire

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

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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 \
aspired; aspiring

Kids Definition of aspire

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on aspire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aspire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aspire

Spanish Central: Translation of aspire

Nglish: Translation of aspire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aspire for Arabic Speakers

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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