a strong desire, longing, or aim; ambition: intellectual aspirations.
a goal or objective that is strongly desired: The presidency has been his aspiration since boyhood.
the act of aspirating or breathing in.
  1. articulation accompanied by an audible puff of breath, as in the h-sound of how, or of when (hwen), or in the release of initial stops, as in the k-sound of key.
  2. the use of such a speech sound, or aspirate, in pronunciation.
  1. the act of removing a fluid, as pus or serum, from a cavity of the body, by a hollow needle or trocar connected with a suction syringe.
  2. the act of inhaling fluid or a foreign body into the bronchi and lungs, often after vomiting.

Origin of aspiration

1375–1425; late Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin aspīrātiōn- (stem of aspīrātiō). See aspirate, -ion
Related formsas·pi·ra·tion·al, adjectivesu·per·as·pi·ra·tion, noun

Synonyms for aspiration Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aspiration

Contemporary Examples of aspiration

Historical Examples of aspiration

  • He was more than usually polite to the major: he was in the army, the goal of his aspiration!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • There were throes of love within her, of aspiration, of an ineffable delight in being.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • And the 'ole point of an aspiration is the sacrifice of someone else.

    The Burning Spear

    John Galsworthy

  • We write from aspiration and antagonism, as well as from experience.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • There is no room for aspiration and no need of any: 'What is actual is rational, what is rational is actual.'



British Dictionary definitions for aspiration



strong desire to achieve something, such as success
the aim of such desire
  1. the act of breathing
  2. a breath
  1. the pronunciation of a stop with an audible and forceful release of breath
  2. the friction of the released breath
  3. an aspirated consonant
removal of air or fluid from a body cavity by suction
  1. the sucking of fluid or foreign matter into the air passages of the body
  2. the removal of air or fluid from the body by suction
Derived Formsaspirational, adjectiveaspiratory (əˈspaɪrətərɪ, -trɪ, ˈæspɪrətərɪ, -trɪ), adjective
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 aspiration

1530s, "action of breathing into," from Latin aspirationem (nominative aspiratio), noun of action from past participle stem of aspirare (see aspire). Meaning "steadfast longing for a higher goal, earnest desire for something above one" is recorded from c.1600 (sometimes collectively, as aspirations).


late 14c., "action of aspirating," noun of action from aspirate (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

aspiration in Medicine




The removal of a gas or fluid by suction.
The sucking of fluid or a foreign body into the airway when drawing breath.
A surgical technique used in the treatment of cataracts of the eye, in which an incision is made into the cornea, the lens capsule is severed, and the material of the lens is fragmented and aspirated by a needle.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.