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

  • transitive v. Linguistics To pronounce (a vowel or word) with the initial release of breath associated with English h, as in hurry.
  • transitive v. Linguistics 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 v. To draw (something) into the lungs; inhale.
  • transitive v. Medicine To remove an abnormal accumulation of (a liquid or gas) from the body by aspiration.
  • transitive v. Medicine To suction (a body part or growth, for example) for the removal of a liquid or a gas.
  • n. Linguistics The speech sound represented by English h.
  • n. Linguistics The puff of air accompanying the release of a stop consonant.
  • n. Linguistics A speech sound followed by a puff of breath.
  • n. Medicine Matter removed by aspiration.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pronounced with the h sound or with audible breath.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A mark of aspiration (ʽ) used in Greek; the asper, or rough breathing.
  • n. An elementary sound produced by the breath alone; a surd, or nonvocal consonant; as, f, th in thin, etc.
  • transitive v. To pronounce with a breathing, an aspirate, or an h sound

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • Pronounced with the aspirate or rough breathing; pronounced with the h-sound, or with a strong emission of breath.
  • n. 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.

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

  • v. suck in (air)
  • v. remove as if by suction
  • n. a consonant pronounced with aspiration
  • v. 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").


  • 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

  • “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

  • -- 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.


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

    Holland, v. 1 (of 2)

  • 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

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

    Illnesses Surge Among Quake Victims

  • 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

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

    Recent Neonatal Research Publications

  • 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).


  • 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


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