Aspiration vs inspiration

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Aspiration and inspiration are two words that can be confusing. We will look at the difference between the meanings of aspiration and inspiration, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Aspiration means the desire or hope of accomplishing something, or the thing that one desires or hopes to accomplish. Aspiration may also mean to breathe in, or to draw out some foreign matter through suction. The word aspiration is derived from the Latin word aspirationem, which means breathing upon, blowing upon, influence.

Inspiration is a stimulation to do something, especially something creative, or the thing that one is stimulated by to do something, especially something creative. Inspiration may also mean to breathe in. The word inspiration is derived from the Latin word inspirationem, which means to blow into, to inspire, to inflame.


Interventions aimed at ‘raising aspiration’ assume it is one-dimensional, yet aspirations may be more or less concrete, more or less stable; they are emotionally imbued and value laden and may relate to very different types of imagined future. (The Brunel University News)

The importance of high aspirations and high expectations for children cannot be under-stated: witness primary school results showing that children who speak English as a second language are most likely to over-achieve. (The Telegraph)

Swenson was “a great inspiration to a lot of young women, both as a legislator and a leader,” said Longmont City Councilwoman Bonnie Finley, who served as press secretary on Swenson’s first election campaign for the statehouse seat, in 1984. (The Longmont Times-Call)

If the Islanders are looking to heat up after a slow start, they can look to Anders Lee for inspiration, since that is exactly what the center has done this season. (Newsday)