Aspiration Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Searching for information on the word aspiration? Look no further and keep reading — here’s our complete guide on the meaning of aspiration.

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When you hear the word aspiration, what comes to mind?

Do you think about your dreams, hopes, and ambitions? Or is swallowing something “down the wrong tube” what you conjure up in your head? Either way, you wouldn’t be wrong. 

Read on as we explore the word aspiration to uncover its most common definitions, usage examples, and more. 

By the end of this post, you should have a good understanding of what our word of the day entails and even feel comfortable using it in a sentence. So, if you’ve ever wondered about the term aspiration, keep reading. 

What Is the Definition of Aspiration?

The noun aspiration has quite the spread of meanings. With how they vary, it can get a little confusing if you’re not careful. To help you explore the word of the day and get better acquainted with its meaning, we’ve compiled a list of its various definitions:

  • Aspiration, as per Cambridge Dictionary, can refer to something one hopes to achieve, used in reference to an overly strong desire, longing for something; in this context, aspiration is usually plural.
  • In linguistics and phonetics, aspiration refers to how a person can pronounce a word with an exhalation of their breath. In English, aspiration is often associated with how we pronounce the “h” in hurry.
  • According to Lexico, aspiration also refers to the act of inhaling — basically, breathing in.
  • Aspiration is a strong desire to achieve an objective or goal.

Aspiration as a Medical Term

Additionally, aspiration is also a medical term used to describe the removal of gas, tissues, or fluid from the body, typically utilizing a syringe or needle. 

Some of the more common types of aspiration are listed below:

  • Amniocentesis
  • Abdominal tap
  • Arthrocentesis 
  • Bone marrow biopsy or aspiration
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
  • Pleural tap (thoracentesis)
  • Aspiration of a cyst, mass, tumor, or of a lump

Aspiration is also used to diagnose and possibly combat a variety of different medical conditions, such as:

  • Abdominal conditions, including peritonitis (abdominal infection) or fluid build up in the abdomen
  • Arthritis
  • Airway clearance
  • Various spinal cord and brain conditions, such as cancer, meningitis, and multiple sclerosis
  • Joint swelling
  • Hemorrhage and effusion
  • Abortion  

As far as medical terms go, aspiration is multiple meanings and uses, such as:

  • Airway aspiration — This refers to the drawing in of a foreign substance (anything from various foods, stomach acids, liquids, toxic gasses, and even airborne particles) into the lungs. Think back to the last time you thought something went down the “wrong pipe,” that is, airway aspiration.
  • Aspiration pneumonia — This is a medical condition that is usually the result of some form of bacterial infection.

What Is the Etymology of Aspiration?

The late Middle English aspiration was first noted in 1375. Aspiration comes from the Latin aspirationem (a nominative of aspiratio), meaning rough breathing or blowing upon. 

What Are Translations of Aspiration?

If it’s your ambition or your aspiration to chat with people from all walks of life, a good place to start is in the translation of our word of the day: aspiration. 

As you may have guessed, the noun aspiration is used in various other languages. Below, we have a list of various translations of aspiration:

  • Brazilian Portuguese — aspiração
  • French — aspiration
  • German — Ziel
  • Italian — aspirazione
  • Japanese — 向上心
  • Macedonian — аспирација
  • Polish — dążenie, przydech
  • Chinese — 志向
  • European Spanish — aspiración
  • Ukrainian — прагнення
  • Thai — ความมุ่งมาดปรารถนา
  • Spanish — aspiración
  • Korean — 열망
  • European Portuguese — aspiração

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms Aspiration?

Chances are the last time many of us opened up a thesaurus was around the same time we played with our Tamagotchi. Or perhaps it was around the same time we all had aspirations to finally find that optical illusion within the Magic Eye image? 

Either way, we have you covered with various synonyms and antonyms for aspiration (provided in part by Power Thesaurus) listed below.


  • Ambition
  • Desire
  • Raison d’être
  • Fire in the belly
  • Dream 
  • Castles in the air
  • Ambitiousness 
  • Hope
  • The sky’s the limit
  • Goal
  • Desired result
  • Go getting
  • Articulation 
  • Wish 
  • Object of desire


  • Laziness
  • Dislike
  • Leisure
  • languidness
  • Detestation 
  • Hatred 
  • Hate
  • Indifference
  • Antipathy
  • A path 
  • Unambition
  • Aimlessness 

How Can You Use Aspiration in a Sentence?

Take your newfound knowledge of aspiration out for a test drive and see how many example sentences you can write out utilizing the noun aspiration today! Below we have included a few examples to get you started:

As a musician, I always aspired to create technical and challenging pieces.

There isn’t a time in my life that I can remember not aspiring to become a firefighter for the local station just like my pops.

Grandpa’s doctor wanted him to get checked out in the hospital because he possibly experienced some aspiration after choking on his eggs this morning.

My aspirations involve working on Broadway — what do you aspire to be?

Tom was worried about his bone marrow aspiration scheduled for tomorrow.


To recap, whether it be to reference the aspirated consonant (or speech sound), food going down the wrong pipe, or simply the act of aspirating — you know, breathing? These are all fine examples of aspiration. 


  1. Aspiration | Cambridge English Dictionary
  2. Aspiration |
  3. Aspiration synonyms – 1 053 Words and Phrases for Aspiration | Power Thesaurus