to long, aim, or seek ambitiously; be eagerly desirous, especially for something great or of high value (usually followed by to, after, or an infinitive):
to aspire after literary immortality; to aspire to be a doctor.
archaic. to rise up; soar; mount; tower.
contemporary examples

her 18-year-old daughter, an aspiring animator, is headed for art school, she says.
joy reid, msnbc anchor, on the racism of the tea party, family dramas, and why she loves boxing lloyd grove march 26, 2014

the 19-year-old jou, an aspiring doctor, often tutored and volunteered at charities around her rancho santa margarita home.
the other craigslist killer jennifer wadsworth may 17, 2009

the highly educated daughter of a senator running for president, stepdaughter of an heiress, aspiring film director.
the awkwardness olympics jill lawrence august 22, 2011

egan said he had grown up in the midwest, aspiring to be an actor.
‘i considered suicide,’ alleged s-x abuse victim of bryan singer tells the daily beast tim teeman april 17, 2014

one of them, troy jones, a 19-year-old aspiring photojournalist, remembered brown from the scrimmage line.
‘go ahead and shoot me’: the veteran who defied ferguson’s cops justin glawe august 12, 2014

historical examples

you will find in your platoons dukes sons and cooks sons, aspiring generals—and some ruddy fools.
john brown captain r. w. campbell

skilful, aspiring, resolute, he grew steadily in knowledge and in power.
fragments of science, v. 1-2 john tyndall

it is not pleasant to be called green, but i would rather be green and aspiring than blase and hide-bound at nineteen.
remarks bill nye

she was not by nature bad, although vain, selfish, and aspiring.
the golden dog william kirby

in his aspirations the american is more constant than an englishman,—or i should rather say he is more constant in aspiring.
north america, volume i (of 2) anthony trollope

verb (intransitive)
usually foll by to or after. to yearn (for) or have a powerful or ambitious plan, desire, or hope (to do or be something): to aspire to be a great leader
to rise to a great height

“to strive for,” c.1400, from old french aspirer “aspire to; inspire; breathe, breathe on” (12c.), from latin aspirare “to breathe upon, to breathe,” also, in transferred senses, “to be favorable to, -ssist; to climb up to, to endeavor to obtain, to reach to, to seek to reach; infuse,” from ad- “to” (see ad-) + spirare “to breathe” (see spirit (n.)). the notion is of “panting with desire,” or perhaps of rising smoke. related: aspired; aspiring.

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