• synonyms


[verb as-puh-reyt; noun, adjective, as-per-it]
verb (used with object), as·pi·rat·ed, as·pi·rat·ing.
  1. Phonetics.
    1. to articulate (a speech sound, especially a stop) so as to produce an audible puff of breath, as with the first t of total, the second t being unaspirated.
    2. to articulate (the beginning of a word or syllable) with an h-sound, as in which, pronounced (hwich), or hitch as opposed to witch or itch.
  2. Medicine/Medical.
    1. to remove (a fluid) from a body cavity by use of an aspirator or suction syringe.
    2. to inhale (fluid or a foreign body) into the bronchi and lungs, often after vomiting.
  3. to draw or remove by suction.
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  1. Phonetics. a speech sound having as an obvious concomitant an audible puff of breath, as initial stop consonants or initial h-sounds.
  2. Medicine/Medical. the substance or contents that have been aspirated.
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  1. Phonetics. (of a speech sound) pronounced with or accompanied by aspiration; aspirated.
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Origin of aspirate

1660–70; < Latin aspīrātus breathed upon (past participle of aspīrāre). See aspire, -ate1
Related formsnon·as·pi·rate, noun, adjectivenon·as·pi·rat·ed, adjectivenon·as·pi·rat·ing, adjectiveun·as·pi·rat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for aspirate


verb (ˈæspɪˌreɪt) (tr)
  1. phonetics
    1. to articulate (a stop) with some force, so that breath escapes with audible friction as the stop is released
    2. to pronounce (a word or syllable) with an initial h
  2. to draw in or remove by inhalation or suction, esp to suck (air or fluid) from a body cavity or to inhale (fluid) into the lungs after vomiting
  3. to supply air to (an internal-combustion engine)
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noun (ˈæspɪrɪt)
  1. phonetics
    1. a stop pronounced with an audible release of breath
    2. the glottal fricative represented in English and several other languages as h
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adjective (ˈæspɪrɪt)
  1. phonetics (of a stop) pronounced with a forceful and audible expulsion of breath
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for aspirate


1725, "sound of the letter 'H'," especially at the beginning of a word, from Latin aspiratio "a breathing, exhalation, the pronunciation of the letter H" (see aspire).

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"to pronounce with audible breath," 1700; perhaps a back-formation from aspiration (n.2), or from French aspirer (1520s), or directly from Latin aspiratus, past participle of aspirare (see aspire). Related: Aspirated; aspirating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

aspirate in Medicine


  1. To take in or remove by aspiration.
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  1. A substance removed by aspiration.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.