inspiration

noun
in·​spi·​ra·​tion | \ ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən, -(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 , -​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

The interiors of the hotel were designed by Russell Sage, using Scottish heritage as a major inspiration—which means yes, there is a tartan all over, and each room has its own individual design. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Prince Charles and Camilla Tour the Newly Renovated Fife Arms, Which Features Art by Queen Victoria," 11 Jan. 2019 But Bono maintains his quest for epic inspiration, writing about how love is the only thing that lasts or matters, how our emotions and desires sometimes get in our own way, and how freedom is the true force of change and motion in life. John Adamian, courant.com, "From Sam Hunt And Reba To U2 And King X: A Week Of Big-Name Concerts," 23 June 2018 In addition to citing Japanese musician Haruomi Hosono and pioneering synth group Art of Noise as inspirations, Zeta’s sound was also shaped by her obsession with postmodern furniture. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "The Argentinian Artist Whose Colorful Closet and Music Are Inspired by Postmodern Furniture," 24 Dec. 2018 In addition to Internet detective work regarding Jungkook's possible inspiration, some fans have mashed the clip together with other songs. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "BTS's Jungkook Strutting Down a Runway Is Now a Hilarious Meme," 17 Dec. 2018 Now, the tool includes upcoming holiday and school breaks—think Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, and spring break—to provide destination inspiration, and make getting out of dodge even easier. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Google Wants to Plan Your MLK and Presidents’ Day Weekends," 17 Dec. 2018 The eleven poppy patterns represent a range of Benz's inspirations, like a two-color graffiti print called El Quijote, a splatter paint Corner Deli, and Madison Stripe, which was based off traditional African textiles. Hannah Morrill, ELLE Decor, "Chris Benz's Wallshoppe Wallpaper Collection Is Everything," 26 Nov. 2018 And if the art is inspired by hundreds of thousands of pre-existing pieces, how much is the process informed by a typical degree of borrowing or inspiration, and how much is just swiping? Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Christie’s just sold an AI-generated painting for $432,500. It’s already controversial.," 29 Oct. 2018 The legendary makeup artist is a constant source of inspiration, from fresh-faced looks to unexpected color and finish combinations. Marci Robin, Allure, "Pat McGrath Labs' Holiday Collection Features Three New Eye Palettes and a New Lipstick in Eight Shades," 13 Oct. 2018

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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Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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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 \

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- \

Medical Definition of inspiration

: the drawing of air into the lungs

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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

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