[ in-spahyuhr ]
See synonyms for: inspireinspiredinspiresinspiring on

verb (used with object),in·spired, in·spir·ing.
  1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.

  2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.): to inspire confidence in others.

  1. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.: to inspire a person with distrust.

  2. to influence or impel: Competition inspired her to greater efforts.

  3. to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does: They were inspired by a belief in a better future.

  4. to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence: writings inspired by God.

  5. to guide or control by divine influence.

  6. to prompt or instigate (utterances, acts, etc.) by influence, without avowal of responsibility.

  7. to give rise to, bring about, cause, etc.: a philosophy that inspired a revolution.

  8. to take (air, gases, etc.) into the lungs in breathing; inhale.

  9. Archaic.

    • to infuse (breath, life, etc.) by breathing (usually followed by into).

    • to breathe into or upon.

verb (used without object),in·spired, in·spir·ing.
  1. to give inspiration.

  2. to inhale.

Origin of inspire

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English inspiren, from Latin inspīrāre “to breathe upon, breathe into,” equivalent to in- in-2 + spīrāre “to breathe”

Other words from inspire

  • in·spir·a·tive [in-spahyuhr-uh-tiv, in-spi-rey-tiv], /ɪnˈspaɪər ə tɪv, ˈɪn spɪˌreɪ tɪv/, adjective
  • in·spir·er, noun
  • in·spir·ing·ly, adverb
  • pre·in·spire, verb (used with object), pre·in·spired, pre·in·spir·ing.
  • pseu·do·in·spir·ing, adjective
  • re·in·spire, verb, re·in·spired, re·in·spir·ing.
  • un·in·spir·ing, adjective
  • un·in·spir·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use inspire in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for inspire


/ (ɪnˈspaɪə) /

  1. to exert a stimulating or beneficial effect upon (a person); animate or invigorate

  2. (tr; foll by with or to; may take an infinitive) to arouse (with a particular emotion or to a particular action); stir

  1. (tr) to prompt or instigate; give rise to: her beauty inspired his love

  2. (tr; often passive) to guide or arouse by divine influence or inspiration

  3. to take or draw (air, gas, etc) into the lungs; inhale

  4. (tr) archaic

    • to breathe into or upon

    • to breathe life into

Origin of inspire

C14 (in the sense: to breathe upon, blow into): from Latin inspīrāre, from spīrāre to breathe

Derived forms of inspire

  • inspirable, adjective
  • inspirative, adjective
  • inspirer, noun
  • inspiringly, adverb

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