The Meaning of Aspire: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of aspire? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word aspire, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word aspire mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word aspire is a transitive verb or intransitive verb that refers to having goals and eagerness of reaching a level of success, usually in a particular career. Someone who aspires has great ambition and is working toward an ultimate goal of great height. This word is usually followed by a preposition or infinitive particle. Aspire is two syllables or three syllables depending on your pronunciation – as-pire or as-pi-re, and the pronunciation of aspire is əˈspaɪr. One can add the suffix er to the end of aspire to make aspirer (n.) or ing to make the adjective aspiring (adj.), as well as ly to make the adverb aspiringly, and suffixes can also be used to make verb tenses like the past participle or present participle. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean aspire. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to the word aspire. These are called cognates, which are words that mean the same thing as well as look and sound similar across languages. Cognates are often formed when two words have the same root, or when two languages share a common language of origin such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word aspire is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Catalan: aspirar‎
  •  Hebrew: שָׁאַף‎ (shaáf)
  •  Finnish: aikoa‎, pyrkiä‎
  •  Portuguese: aspirar‎, almejar‎
  •  Japanese: 希求する‎ (kikyū-suru)
  •  Maori: matawara‎, wawata‎, hōkaka‎, tameme‎, ingoingo‎
  •  German: streben‎, hoffen‎
  •  Spanish: aspirar‎
  •  Chinese – Mandarin: 希望‎, 渴求‎
  •  Russian: стреми́ться‎
  •  Dutch: ambiëren‎, nastreven‎
  •  Galician: aspirar‎
  •  Bulgarian: стремя се‎, домогвам се‎
  •  Swedish: sträva‎
  •  Breton: hunvreal‎
  •  Korean: 꿈꾸다‎
  •  West Frisian: dreame‎
  •  Greek: ονειρεύομαι‎
  •  Czech: přát‎, doufat‎, snít‎
  •  Thai: ฝันใฝ่‎ (făn fài)
  •  Italian: sognare‎
  •  Roman: sánjati‎, snívati‎, nadati‎
  •  Luxembourgish: dreemen‎, wënschen‎
  •  Armenian: երազել‎
  •  Romanian: visa‎
  •  Danish: drømme‎
  •  French: rêver‎, souhaiter‎
  •  Arabic: حَلَمَ‎
  •  Polish: marzyć‎
  •  Georgian: წადილი‎, ნდომა‎
  •  Asturian: suañar‎, soñar‎
  •  Turkish: hayali olmak‎, ummak‎
  •  Malay: mengimpi‎
  •  Serbo-Croatian – Cyrillic: са́њати‎, сни́вати‎, надати‎
  •  Lithuanian: svajoti‎

What is the origin of the word aspire?

According to Etymonline, the word aspire has been used since the Middle English aspiren. This comes from the Middle French aspirer and Latin aspirare/Latin aspīrāre (to breathe upon or pant after), which comes from the Latin spīrāre/spirare.

What are synonyms and antonyms of aspire?

There are many equivalent words one can use in place of the word aspire. hese are called synonyms. Synonyms are a very useful English grammatical device to know because they can help people avoid repeating themselves in written work and conversation as well as expanding their vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word aspire is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  expect to
  •  thirst after
  •  have in mind
  •  purpose
  •  hanker
  •  want
  •  endeavor
  •  strive
  •  have as one’s goal
  •  hope
  •  yearn
  •  soar
  •  have as one’s aim
  •  be eager
  •  expect
  •  have the intention
  •  intend
  •  pursue
  •  attempt
  •  wish
  •  endeavoring
  •  propose
  •  long
  •  try to reach
  •  endeavour
  •  crave
  •  ascend
  •  be ambitious
  •  try
  •  shoot for
  •  calculate
  •  aim for
  •  design
  •  mean
  •  desire
  •  arise
  •  essay
  •  be desirous of
  •  aim
  •  seek
  •  draw a bead on
  •  mount
  •  contemplate
  •  make an effort
  •  plan
  •  rise
  •  dream
  •  aim to
  •  dream of
  •  lift

There are also many different words and phrases that mean the opposite of the word aspire. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are another useful English language device to know because they are a simple way to improve your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word aspire is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  plummet
  •  lose hope
  •  be beaten
  •  become less
  •  hate
  •  fall
  •  overlook
  •  dive
  •  admit defeat
  •  plunge
  •  pack up
  •  abandon hope
  •  sink
  •  discontinue
  •  ignore
  •  become smaller
  •  dislike
  •  decline
  •  answer
  •  pack in
  •  forget
  •  fall off
  •  wallow
  •  lay of
  •  avoid
  •  neglect
  •  spurn
  •  descend
  •  reject
  •  despise
  •  catch one’s breath
  •  crash
  •  nose-dive
  •  lay off
  •  give up
  •  abstain from
  •  quit
  •  taper off
  •  subside
  •  knock off
  •  dismiss
  •  dip
  •  tumble
  •  stoop
  •  slide
  •  drop
  •  accede
  •  give up hope
  •  break off
  •  abandon

How can the word aspire (vb.) be used in a sentence?

Using a word in a sentence is a great way to learn its definition. You can also use flashcards quizzes to test your knowledge of natural sounding English words. Try using this new word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of the word aspire to help get you started. 

When they were aspiring to adopt, the whole family attended the interview panel. If they did not pass, they would have to retry a whole year later.

The aspiring actor who went to Princeton University actually found great success as a poet. Her great knowledge of literature, poetry, and theater helped her achieve literary immortality.

He had the ambitious plan of getting a high value profession/occupation; a coaching position for the Anaheim Angels. He was a great leader and talented baseball coach, and was determined to make his dream a reality.

In Warner’s view, they shouldn’t aspire to make the new generation of robocalls sound like actual humans, but to eliminate them altogether.

Warner’s view of the herd of enemy positions on the platoon from the tower caused him to aspire to soar out of there, leave the US fleet, and go home. 

The company aspired to create a zero pollutants option on the new light duty cars’ tailpipes. They were close to completing consumer versions of the battery-electric cars.

Overall, the definition of aspire verb is to have a goal of something. This is usually some ambition of career success. 


  1. aspire | Origin and meaning of aspire | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  2. Aspire synonyms – 531 Words and Phrases for Aspire | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Aspire definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  4. dream: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  5. Aspire antonyms – 430 Opposites of Aspire | Power Thesaurus