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

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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 If blood tests suggest that any kind of leukemia is a possibility, the next step is usually a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, per LLS. Barbara Brody,, 9 Sep. 2021 Hollywood and indie films in the Boston Gothic mode trade in tropes of class aspiration, stasis, and descent. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's Magazine, 17 Aug. 2021 Local Government Summit County official has ‘zero aspiration’ for Park City mayor’s office after soils criticism. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 July 2021 But Bill Ready is quoted as saying that Google is not a retailer and has no aspiration of being a retailer. Walter Loeb, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Dysphagia in particular can lead to serious health problems like malnutrition, dehydration, and aspiration. Patti Greco,, 14 Sep. 2021 It’s a crowd-pleaser grounded in the love of a family bonded by aspiration. Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2021 Through the first-rate direction of Candis C. Jones and the restless cameras of Justin Chiet, the drama proves an engrossing snapshot of racial tension, aspiration and survival in the basement of a Black household during the 1967 Detroit riots. Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2021 In a 2018 Gallup survey, 4 in 10 adults said the ideal number of children in a family was three or more, suggesting a gap between aspiration and reality. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 July 2021

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.

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First Known Use of aspiration

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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Time Traveler for aspiration

Time Traveler

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

8 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aspiration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Oct. 2021.

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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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