from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To pronounce (a vowel or word) with the initial release of breath associated with English h, as in hurry.
  • transitive verb To follow (a consonant, especially a stop consonant) with a puff of breath that is clearly audible before the next sound begins, as in English pit or kit.
  • transitive verb To draw (something) into the lungs; inhale.
  • transitive verb To remove an abnormal accumulation of (a liquid or gas) from the body by aspiration.
  • transitive verb To suction (a body part or growth, for example) for the removal of a liquid or gas.
  • noun The speech sound represented by English h.
  • noun The puff of air accompanying the release of a stop consonant.
  • noun A speech sound followed by a puff of breath.
  • noun Medicine Matter removed by aspiration.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pronounced with the aspirate or rough breathing; pronounced with the h-sound, or with a strong emission of breath.
  • noun An aspirated sound, or a sound like our h; a sound with which the h-sound is combined, or which corresponds historically to a sound of this nature: thus, the Sanskrit kh, gh, bh, etc., and the Greek ch, th, ph (χ, θ, φ) are called aspirates, as are also the English f, th, which are more properly called breathings or spirants; also, a character or combination of characters representing a sound thus described, as the letter h, the Greek rough breathing, etc.
  • To impel by aspiration or suction: as, to aspirate a current of air through a tube.
  • To pronounce with a breathing or an audible emission of breath; pronounce with such a sound as that of the letter h: as, we aspirate the words horse and house, but not hour and honor; cockneys often aspirate words beginning with a vowel.
  • To remove by aspiration.
  • To be uttered with an aspirate or strong breathing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To pronounce with a breathing, an aspirate, or an h sound
  • noun A sound consisting of, or characterized by, a breath like the sound of h; the breathing h or a character representing such a sound; an aspirated sound.
  • noun A mark of aspiration (ʽ) used in Greek; the asper, or rough breathing.
  • noun An elementary sound produced by the breath alone; a surd, or nonvocal consonant; as, f, th in thin, etc.
  • adjective Pronounced with the h sound or with audible breath.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun linguistics The puff of air accompanying the release of a plosive consonant.
  • noun linguistics A sound produced by such a puff of air.
  • verb transitive To remove a liquid or gas by means of suction.
  • verb transitive To inhale so as to draw something other than air into one's lungs.
  • verb transitive, linguistics To produce an audible puff of breath. especially following a consonant.
  • adjective aspirated

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb suck in (air)
  • verb remove as if by suction
  • noun a consonant pronounced with aspiration
  • verb pronounce with aspiration; of stop sounds


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin aspīrāre, aspīrāt-, to breathe on : ad-, ad- + spīrāre, to breathe.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin aspīrātus, perfect passive participle of aspīrō ("breathe upon").


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  • Latin or Greek word begins with an aspirate, the English word begins with a medial; thus the Latin 'f' is found responsive to the English

    A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder James De Mille

  • “h,” she half-closed her eyes and drew in her breath with a semi-audible groan, as if the aspirate were a missile that had struck her.

    The Way Home 2003

  • -- This only added to the "bird wing" theory a new argument that all flying things must have outstretched wings, in order to fly, forgetting that the ball, which has no outstretched wings, has also the same "aspirate" movement attributed to the wings of the bird.

    Aeroplanes 1915

  • This effect is produced by the frequent repetition of a guttural aspirate which is like the sound of the

    Holland, v. 1 (of 2) Edmondo De Amicis 1877

  • Secondly, as regards "hoi polloi", this is actually the correct spelling in Ancient Greek; there is an "aspirate" over the initial letter 'o' (an aspirate looks like a very small letter 'c') and this transforms the sound from an 'o' to a 'ho'.

    SofiaEcho RSS feed 2009

  • Effect of inhaled nitric oxide in premature infants on tracheal aspirate and plasma nitric oxide metabolites.

    Recent Neonatal Research Publications 2010

  • Immunology Laboratory: tissue biopsies, body fluids, bone marrow aspirate, and peripheral blood for flow cytometry for leukemia, lymphoma, ALPS (autoimmune lymphoproliferative disorder), and DHR (chronic granulomatous disease).

    Hematopathology 2010

  • Funnily enough, whether or not to aspirate h is a grey area in some English words (e.g. historic).

    Apostrophes in business names and place names 2009

  • Earthquake in Japan More photos and interactive graphics Older people commonly aspirate saliva when they sleep.

    Illnesses Surge Among Quake Victims Gordon Fairclough 2011

  • Her voice high, like a child's, like it came from the back of her throat and she'd forgotten to aspirate, or lift it.

    For the Sake of the Boy Ramola D 2011


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