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

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

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What does the word aspiring mean?

Heading to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language as well as American Heritage and Collins English dictionary, the word aspiring is an adjective that describes desiring and working to achieve some particular goal. A person who is aspiring has aspirations to attain a specified position or profession. Oftentimes, aspiring is used in reference to a creative career, such as an aspiring writer, aspiring model, aspiring athlete, aspiring pop stars, or aspiring musicians. A person who is aspiring has large ambitions for a particular career. This great ambition often has the ultimate goal of fame, but can also be used to refer to a strong desire or achievement. The pronunciation of aspiring is əˈspaɪərɪŋ, and the pronunciation of aspire is əˈspaɪr. 

Usually, a person who is aspiring has not yet achieved their goal. Once they achieve their goal or have the career of their dreams, they are no longer aspiring. For example, a violinist could aspire to play at the Sydney Opera house. Once they have played at the Sydney Opera House, they no longer aspire to do so. They may have bigger dreams or they may be satisfied with what they have achieved. A performer may aspire to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony. Once they have won all of these awards, they are no longer aspiring to do so and may shift their focus to other goals or ambitions. 

There are also many different languages that use words that mean aspiring. You may notice that many of these words look and sound similar to the word aspiring. This is likely because they are of a similar origin. Often words that look and sound the same and have a similar meaning, or that are cognates for each other have a similar origin, such as the romance languages and Latin. This list of translations for the word aspiring is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Catalan: aspirar‎
  •  Russian: стреми́ться‎
  •  Japanese: 希求する‎ (kikyū-suru)
  •  Dutch: ambiëren‎, nastreven‎
  •  Hebrew: שָׁאַף‎ (shaáf)
  •  Mandarin: 希望‎, 渴求‎
  •  Swedish: sträva‎
  •  Bulgarian: стремя се‎, домогвам се‎
  •  Galician: aspirar‎
  •  German: streben‎, hoffen‎
  •  Portuguese: aspirar‎, almejar‎
  •  Maori: matawara‎, wawata‎, hōkaka‎, tameme‎, ingoingo‎
  •  Finnish: aikoa‎, pyrkiä‎
  •  Spanish: aspirar‎

How can the word aspiring be used in a sentence?

There are many different ways that the word aspiring can be used in a sentence. Using a word in a sentence is a great way to remember it’s definition. You can also Study word meaning by using flashcards or creating a quiz for yourself. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are many examples of aspiring. 

The popular athlete was an aspiring Olympian, and spent hours running around the high school track. However, his younger brother was much more athletic and attended college in Michigan on a full ride.

The aspiring actress spent hours of practice preparing for her first audition. She memorized her monologue and notated every line with exactly how the character was feeling and why. 

The young poet had an aspiring mind and was inspired by many compositions from the early nineteen hundreds. She hoped that her classical style influenced by post-war Paris would still connect with young people based on her subject matter.

Sarah was the oldest sibling of 12, and was aspiring for more than just being a third parent to her younger siblings. She felt that going to college was a natural means of escape, however, a series of disasters and disgraces left her broke and unable to attend.

What is the origin of the word aspiring?

According to Etymonline, the word aspiring has been used since the year 1400. This word comes from the Old French aspirer meaning to aspire to or to breathe. This has been used since the 12th century and comes from the Latin aspirare, meaning to breathe upon or in a figurative sense, to seek to reach or to infuse. This comes from the prefix ad and the Latin spirare meaning to breathe. The notion is of panting with desire, or of rising smoke. This word has not been used in the literal sense in English since the 1530s. Related words include aspired, aspire, aspirant, aspirate, aspiration, aspirator, spirit, and unaspiring. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word aspiring?

There are many different words that can be used in place of the word aspiring. These are known as synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as other words and phrases. Synonyms are very useful to know because they can help you avoid repeating yourself as well as expanding your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word aspiring is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  enthusiastic
  •  impassioned
  •  hopeful
  •  endeavoring
  •  wannabe
  •  eager beaver
  •  aspirant
  •  zealous
  •  longing
  •  eager
  •  would-be
  •  striving
  •  on the make
  •  ambitious
  •  eager
  •  wishful

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of the word aspiring. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are also very useful to know if you want to expand your vocabulary as well as your knowledge of the English language. This list of synonyms for the word aspiring is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  unindustrious
  •  slack
  •  lagging
  •  shiftless
  •  indolent
  •  dallying
  •  idle
  •  unmotivated
  •  loafing
  •  good-for-nothing
  •  unenergetic
  •  inattentive
  •  directionless
  •  unambitious
  •  procrastinating
  •  apathetic
  •  lethargic
  •  laggard
  •  lifeless
  •  slothful
  •  lackadaisical
  •  incompetent

Overall, the word aspiring refers to someone who is desiring and working to achieve a particular goal. This word uses the suffix ing to form the adjective from the verb aspire. 


  1. Aspiring | Definition of Aspiring | Merriam-Webster 
  2. ASPIRING Synonyms: 13 Synonyms & Antonyms for ASPIRING | Thesaurus 
  3. UNAMBITIOUS Synonyms: 182 Synonyms & Antonyms for UNAMBITIOUS | Thesaurus 
  4. aspire: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  5. aspire | Origin and meaning of aspire | Online Etymology Dictionary