inspiration

noun
in·​spi·​ra·​tion | \ ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce inspiration (audio) , -(ˌ)spi-\

Definition of inspiration

1a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation
b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions
c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions
2 : the act of drawing in specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs
3a : the quality or state of being inspired
b : something that is inspired a scheme that was pure inspiration
4 : an inspiring agent or influence

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from inspiration

inspirational \ ˌin(t)-​spə-​ˈrā-​shnəl How to pronounce inspirational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl , -​(ˌ)spi-​ \ adjective
inspirationally adverb

The Inspirational History of Inspiration

Inspiration has an unusual history in that its figurative sense appears to predate its literal one. It comes from the Latin inspiratus (the past participle of inspirare, “to breathe into, inspire”) and in English has had the meaning “the drawing of air into the lungs” since the middle of the 16th century. This breathing sense is still in common use among doctors, as is expiration (“the act or process of releasing air from the lungs”). However, before inspiration was used to refer to breath it had a distinctly theological meaning in English, referring to a divine influence upon a person, from a divine entity; this sense dates back to the early 14th century. The sense of inspiration often found today (“someone or something that inspires”) is considerably newer than either of these two senses, dating from the 19th century.

Examples of inspiration in a Sentence

Where does the inspiration for your art come from? His paintings take their inspiration from nature. She had a sudden inspiration. They would have the party outdoors! Deciding to have the party outdoors was sheer inspiration.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

And, yes, the streaming giant is taking the Meghan Markle inspiration for the franchise to a whole new level. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, ""A Christmas Prince" Sequel "The Royal Baby" Is Coming to Netflix This Holiday Season," 11 Mar. 2019 The bird became the inspiration for the singing macaws at the Enchanted Tiki Room. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "The A1000 Is Disney's Advanced Animatronic Bringing the Galaxy's Edge Star Wars Theme Park To Life," 28 Feb. 2019 Browse the gallery to get inspiration, then tap into the planning services to get help with measuring your space, sketching out your dream, and choosing the finishes and final products. Jessica Dailey, Good Housekeeping, "All You Need," 11 Feb. 2019 Read 27 Fruit-Infused Waters to Stay Hydrated This Season to get inspiration for some tasty add-in combinations. Sally Tamarkin, SELF, "22 Easy Ways to Drink More Water Every Day," 3 Jan. 2019 For everyone else, the Silver Swan’s sleek skylights provide inspiration on how to make a tiny van seem larger. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Camper van with skylights lives large in 100 square feet," 17 Dec. 2018 McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown is candid in saying that OnePlus is expert in building phones and that the design is all OnePlus’ work, with only a little assistance and inspiration from McLaren. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "McLaren and OnePlus kick off exclusive partnership with McLaren OnePlus 6T," 11 Dec. 2018 The popular stories written by Janette Oke is the inspiration behind Hallmark’s hit. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Everything to Know About 'When Calls the Heart' Season 6," 17 Feb. 2019 And in the meantime, inspiration is just an Instagram away. Akili King, Vogue, "With Followers Like Gabrielle Union and SZA, Health Coach Massy Arias Pushes the Boundaries of a Gym Routine," 15 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inspiration.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of inspiration

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inspiration

Share inspiration

Statistics for inspiration

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inspiration

The first known use of inspiration was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inspiration

inspiration

noun

English Language Learners Definition of inspiration

: something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone
: a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something
: a good idea

inspiration

noun
in·​spi·​ra·​tion | \ ˌin-spə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce inspiration (audio) \

Kids Definition of inspiration

1 : the act or power of arousing the mind or the emotions the inspiration of music
2 : a clever idea While deciding on a costume, I had an inspiration.
3 : something that moves someone to act, create, or feel an emotion Mountains were the painter's inspiration.

inspiration

noun
in·​spi·​ra·​tion | \ ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən, -(ˌ)spir-ˈā- How to pronounce inspiration (audio) \

Medical Definition of inspiration

: the drawing of air into the lungs

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on inspiration

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inspiration

Spanish Central: Translation of inspiration

Nglish: Translation of inspiration for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inspiration for Arabic Speakers

Comments on inspiration

What made you want to look up inspiration? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!