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
Recent Examples on the WebFor a while this technical aspiration to build thinner watches became the focus of Piaget, perhaps at the cost of its emphasis toward elegance and beauty.—Anthony Demarco, Forbes, 20 Dec. 2022 Or excellence, aspiration, power, grace and activism — all the adjectives that attach to athletes.—Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 22 Dec. 2022 The problem came from doing so all the time, as a lifestyle, an aspiration, an obsession.—Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 10 Nov. 2022 There’s a Warholian riff here on celebrity—or the aspiration to celebrity—as a performance in its own right.—Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 28 Sep. 2022 This dignified landmark of struggle, aspiration, assimilation, and ethnic pride is a quintessentially American monument to the immigrant experience.—Martin Filler, The New York Review of Books, 7 Sep. 2022 But the law also opened pathways for another core American aspiration: free-market economics.—WIRED, 19 Aug. 2022 The main concern here is aspiration, Sarah Andrews, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, tells SELF.—Jessica Toscano, SELF, 16 Aug. 2022 This is a uterine aspiration—a procedure in which tissue remaining from the pregnancy is removed.—Wired, 7 Aug. 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.