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[in-spuh-rey-shuh n] /ˌɪn spəˈreɪ ʃən/
an inspiring or animating action or influence:
I cannot write poetry without inspiration.
something inspired, as an idea.
a result of inspired activity.
a thing or person that inspires.
  1. a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.
  2. the divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced.
the drawing of air into the lungs; inhalation.
the act of inspiring; quality or state of being inspired.
Origin of inspiration
1275-1325; Middle English inspiracio(u)n < Late Latin inspīrātiōn- (stem of inspīrātiō). See inspire, -ation
Related forms
reinspiration, noun
1. stimulus, incitement. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for inspiration
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the instant of reply, Dick Gilder, by some inspiration of love, changed his attitude.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • A combination of crocuses and snow on the ground had given her an inspiration for a gown.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • But at that moment an inspiration came to lighten the gloom.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • Like an inspiration it came to the girl what had affected her so disagreeably in Crane—it was his eyes.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • Every way I look I can see a golden-flame tongue of inspiration burning.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
British Dictionary definitions for inspiration


stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity
the state or quality of being so stimulated or aroused
someone or something that causes this state
an idea or action resulting from such a state
the act or process of inhaling; breathing in
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inspiration

c.1300, "immediate influence of God or a god," especially that under which the holy books were written, from Old French inspiracion "inhaling, breathing in; inspiration," from Late Latin inspirationem (nominative inspiratio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin inspirare "inspire, inflame, blow into," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit). Literal sense "act of inhaling" attested in English from 1560s. Meaning "one who inspires others" is attested by 1867.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inspiration in Medicine

inspiration in·spi·ra·tion (ĭn'spə-rā'shən)
The inhalation of air into the lungs.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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inspiration in Science
See inhalation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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