inspiration

noun

in·​spi·​ra·​tion ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce inspiration (audio)
-(ˌ)spi-
1
: an inspiring agent or influence
2
a
: the quality or state of being inspired
b
: something that is inspired
a scheme that was pure inspiration
3
: the act of drawing in
specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs
4
a
: 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
inspirational adjective
inspirationally adverb

Did you know?

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.
Recent Examples on the Web For Day Five of Wimbledon, both Mahomes styled fashionable looks, with Brittany opting for tennis-core inspiration. Julia Teti, WWD, 5 July 2024 Timberlake’s latest album draws ample inspiration from the Bush-era release’s clean, electronic sound, creating a smooth rally between old and new. Dan Belson, Baltimore Sun, 5 July 2024 Or, the more recent generations of fashion glitterati who flock to the city in search of inspiration and creative nourishment, from Jean-Paul Gaultier to John Galliano, and whose collections have been inspired by the city’s distinctive aesthetic. Liam Hess, Vogue, 5 July 2024 Photo : Large Yacht Corp Shark Attack The natural world was a key source of inspiration for Dar’s exterior designer, Luiz de Basto. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 4 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for inspiration 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inspiration.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

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

Dictionary Entries Near inspiration

Cite this Entry

“Inspiration.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inspiration. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

inspiration

noun
in·​spi·​ra·​tion ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce inspiration (audio)
1
: the drawing of air into the lungs in breathing
2
a
: the act or power of moving the mind or the emotions
the inspiration of music
b
: the quality or state of being inspired
the artist's inspiration came from many sources
c
: something that is inspired
a scheme that was an inspiration
d
: someone or something that inspires
his wife was his greatest inspiration
inspirational
-shnəl How to pronounce inspiration (audio)
-shən-ᵊl
adjective
inspirationally
adverb

Medical Definition

inspiration

noun
in·​spi·​ra·​tion ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən, -(ˌ)spir-ˈā- How to pronounce inspiration (audio)
: the drawing of air into the lungs
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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