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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web While the stripper drama Hustlers opened to rave reviews and a massive box office last weekend, one of the inspirations behind the hit film remains unimpressed. Helen Murphy, PEOPLE.com, "Real-Life Inspiration for Jennifer Lopez's Hustlers Role 'Wasn't That Impressed' With the Movie," 17 Sep. 2019 The ‘Well’ part of Wellbriety is the inspiration to go on beyond sobriety and recovery, committing to a life of wellness and healing every day. Anchorage Daily News, "Around Alaska, there’s a new approach to suicide prevention: Think locally," 17 Sep. 2019 Stacy Galbraith, the inspiration for Wever’s character, had just begun investigating a rape case in January 2011. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "The True Story Behind the Netflix Series Unbelievable," 12 Sep. 2019 The city was named a best hometown by Ohio Magazine last year, the inspiration for the speech’s theme. Allison Wood, cleveland.com, "Medina mayor explains why city is one of the state’s best," 9 Sep. 2019 The inspiration behind the pastiche of retro-futuristic flourishes? Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Conehead Hair! '80s Eyeshadow! Gold Ears! The Beauty Steals the Show at Tomo Koizumi," 7 Sep. 2019 In one Dickens passage, all the clerks in the office had Jip's head, another example that proved all the cinematic inspiration was on the page. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "TIFF: Here's how Dev Patel's 'David Copperfield' is making Charles Dickens fun again," 6 Sep. 2019 The Handmaid’s Tale has been a 1990 movie, an opera, a play, a ballet, a one-woman show, and the inspiration for a concept album by the band Lakes of Canada. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Challenge of Margaret Atwood," 5 Sep. 2019 In addition to talking music, the rapper and actor revealed some of the real-life inspiration behind his new project – namely his rekindled romance with Rye. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Common Confirms That He and Angela Rye Are Dating Again," 29 Aug. 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.

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First Known Use of inspiration

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

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Statistics for inspiration

Last Updated

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for inspiration

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

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More Definitions for inspiration

inspiration

noun
How to pronounce inspiration (audio)

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

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Comments on inspiration

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