verb (used without object), as·pired, as·pir·ing.

to long, aim, or seek ambitiously; be eagerly desirous, especially for something great or of high value (usually followed by to, after, or an infinitive): to aspire after literary immortality; to aspire to be a doctor.
Archaic. to rise up; soar; mount; tower.

Origin of aspire

1425–75; late Middle English (< Middle French aspirer) < Latin aspīrāre to breathe upon, pant after, equivalent to a- a-5 + spīrāre to breathe, blow
Related formsas·pir·er, nounas·pir·ing·ly, adverbnon·as·pir·ing, adjectiveun·as·pir·ing, adjectiveun·as·pir·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for aspire

1. yearn.

Synonym study

1. See ambitious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for aspire

pursue, crave, yearn, strive, desire, seek, long, hanker, try, struggle, want, wish, dream

Examples from the Web for aspire

Contemporary Examples of aspire

Historical Examples of aspire

  • She could not aspire to be one of them, but she could be loyal, she could "stick up" for them.

    Pee-wee Harris

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh

  • Man cannot aspire if he look down; if he will rise, he must look up.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Why should you aspire to pluck the flower which has grown up amongst us?

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • We aspire to the top to look for Rest; it lies at the bottom.

    Pax Vobiscum

    Henry Drummond

  • Pride and ambition had led him to aspire to the crown which was settled on Shaddai's Son.


    James Anthony Froude

British Dictionary definitions for aspire


verb (intr)

(usually foll by to or after) to yearn (for) or have a powerful or ambitious plan, desire, or hope (to do or be something)to aspire to be a great leader
to rise to a great height
Derived Formsaspirer, nounaspiring, adjective

Word Origin for aspire

C15: from Latin aspīrāre to breathe upon, from spīrāre to breathe
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 aspire

"to strive for," c.1400, from Old French aspirer "aspire to; inspire; breathe, breathe on" (12c.), from Latin aspirare "to breathe upon, to breathe," also, in transferred senses, "to be favorable to, assist; to climb up to, to endeavor to obtain, to reach to, to seek to reach; infuse," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit (n.)). The notion is of "panting with desire," or perhaps of rising smoke. Related: Aspired; aspiring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper