aspiration

If your aspiration, or ambition, is to climb Mt. Everest someday, you better start training, because it’s a long, hard climb that requires a lot of preparation.

Aspiration means "inhalation" or "breathing." So how did it come to mean "ambition" or "the will to succeed"? The Latin gives us a clue: spirare ("to breathe") and spiritus ("spirit"). It was once believed that our breath was our soul or spirit, which might explain why we talk about "breathing life into" something, or coming up with energy and ideas to invigorate it. How else to breathe life into something than with ambition and drive, in other words, "spirit"?

Primary Meanings of aspiration

1.
n
a cherished desire
2.
n
a manner of articulation involving an audible release of breath
3.
n
the act of inhaling; the drawing in of air (or other gases) as in breathing
Full Definitions of aspiration
1

n a cherished desire

Synonyms:
ambition, dream
Types:
American Dream
the widespread aspiration of Americans to live better than their parents did
emulation
ambition to equal or excel
nationalism
the aspiration for national independence felt by people under foreign domination
Type of:
desire
the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state

n a will to succeed

Type of:
ambition, ambitiousness
a strong drive for success
2

n a manner of articulation involving an audible release of breath

Type of:
articulation
the aspect of pronunciation that involves bringing articulatory organs together so as to shape the sounds of speech
3

n the act of inhaling; the drawing in of air (or other gases) as in breathing

Synonyms:
breathing in, inhalation, inspiration, intake
Types:
gasp, pant
a short labored intake of breath with the mouth open
drag, puff, pull
a slow inhalation (as of tobacco smoke)
toke
a puff of a marijuana or hashish cigarette
Type of:
breath
the process of taking in and expelling air during breathing

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.