aspire

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See also: aspiré

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English aspiren, from Old French aspirer, from Latin aspirare (breathe on; approach; desire).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈspaɪə(ɹ)/
  • (US) IPA(key): /əˈspaɪɚ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪə(ɹ)
  • Hyphenation: as‧pire

Verb[edit]

aspire (third-person singular simple present aspires, present participle aspiring, simple past and past participle aspired)

  1. (intransitive) To have a strong desire or ambition to achieve something.
    Synonyms: crave, pursue, strive, yearn, dream
    to aspire to / for / after / to do something; to aspire that something happens
    He aspires to become a successful doctor.
    We aspire that the world will be a better place.
    • 1613 (date written), William Shakespeare, [John Fletcher], “The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
      There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to, / That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin, / More pangs and fears than wars or women have:
    • 1733, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. [], epistle 1, London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, [], →OCLC, page 14, lines 131-132:
      Aspiring to be Gods, if Angels fell, / Aspiring to be Angels, Men rebell:
    • 1813 January 27, [Jane Austen], chapter 14, in Pride and Prejudice: [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), London: [] [George Sidney] for T[homas] Egerton, [], →OCLC, page 246:
      This match, to which you have the presumption to aspire, can never take place.
    • 1969, Maya Angelou, chapter 23, in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings[1], New York: Random House, pages 177–178:
      We were maids and farmers, handymen and washerwomen, and anything higher that we aspired to was farcical and presumptuous.
    • 2014, Damon Galgut, chapter 2, in Arctic Summer,[2], London: Atlantic Books, page 48:
      His own desire repulsed him. Though if he could not aspire to purity, then he was sufficiently aware of what his mother and certain others might think, not to give in to baseness.
    • 2023 December 27, Philip Haigh, “All eyes are on the DfT as rolling stock concerns deepen”, in RAIL, number 999, page 19:
      Despite these uncertainties, Clarke told MPs he was convinced of the need to order trains powered by batteries. He said: "We're calling for a 'no regrets' order of battery trains because we see them always having a future. We see them being fundable, financeable, similar cost to diesel trains, and we know that however much electrification we would aspire to do, there's always going to be at least a third of the network that isn't electrified.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To go as high as, to reach the top of (something).
    Synonyms: ascend, mount
  3. (intransitive, archaic, literary) To move upward; to be very tall.
    Synonyms: ascend, rise, soar, tower
    • 1589–1592 (date written), Ch[ristopher] Marl[owe], The Tragicall History of D. Faustus. [], London: [] V[alentine] S[immes] for Thomas Bushell, published 1604, →OCLC; republished as Hermann Breymann, editor, Doctor Faustus (Englische Sprach- und Literaturdenkmale des 16., 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts; 5; Marlowes Werke: Historisch-kritische Ausgabe []; II), Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg: Verlag von Gebr[üder] Henninger, 1889, →OCLC, scene VIII:
      In midst of which a sumptuous Temple stands, / That threats the starres with her aspiring toppe.
    • 1794, Ann Radcliffe, chapter 4, in The Mysteries of Udolpho[4], volume 1, London: G.G. and J. Robinson, page 116:
      As they descended, they saw [] one of the grand passes of the Pyreneáes into Spain, gleaming with its battlements and towers to the splendour of the setting rays, yellow tops of woods colouring the steeps below, while far above aspired the snowy points of the mountains, still reflecting a rosy hue.
    • 1844 June, Edgar Allan Poe, “Dream-Land”, in Graham’s Magazine, volume 25, number 6, page 256:
      Seas that restlessly aspire, / Surging, unto skies of fire;
    • 1979, Cormac McCarthy, Suttree, New York: Vintage, published 1992, page 4:
      There is a moonshaped rictus in the streetlamp’s globe where a stone has gone and from this aperture there drifts down through the constant helix of aspiring insects a faint and steady rain of the same forms burnt and lifeless.

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

Asturian[edit]

Verb[edit]

aspire

  1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive of aspirar

French[edit]

Verb[edit]

aspire

  1. inflection of aspirer:
    1. first/third-person singular present indicative/subjunctive
    2. second-person singular imperative

Anagrams[edit]

Galician[edit]

Verb[edit]

aspire

  1. inflection of aspirar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative

Portuguese[edit]

Verb[edit]

aspire

  1. inflection of aspirar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative

Romanian[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

aspire

  1. third-person singular/plural present subjunctive of aspira

Spanish[edit]

Verb[edit]

aspire

  1. inflection of aspirar:
    1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive
    2. third-person singular imperative