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

For those of us who turn to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for beauty inspiration, Stafford-Bridge shared a few key makeup moments to look out for. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 5 Apr. 2019 For inspiration, look no further than these five street style snaps for a masterclass on the art of the boxy between-seasons jacket. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Why a Big, Boxy Blazer Is the Best Spring Jacket," 4 Apr. 2019 For even more inspiration, visit this Palm Springs, California, estate at Sotheby's International Realty. Heather Corcoran, ELLE Decor, "How to Bring Old Hollywood Into Your Home," 19 Mar. 2019 His footprint in pop culture continued to expand as the entertainment industry increasingly looked towards comic books and video games for inspiration, bringing nerd culture to the mainstream. Tracy Brown, latimes.com, "Chris Hardwick, the controversial nerd caught up in a firestorm," 22 June 2018 The evening's theme took inspiration from the Frick's current special exhibition, Moroni: The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture, with many guests choosing to incorporate the Renaissance era into their outfits. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Inside the Frick Young Fellows Ball 2019," 22 Mar. 2019 In each episode, Grace and her team will take on homeowners' stories to create one-of-a-kind design plans, taking inspiration from their personalities, family history, and passions. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "HGTV’s One of a Kind With Grace Mitchell Is a Must-Watch—Here's Everything You Need to Know," 20 Feb. 2019 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

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

12 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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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

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Comments on inspiration

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not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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