Definition of inspiration in US English:



  • 1The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

    ‘Helen had one of her flashes of inspiration’
    ‘the history of fashion has provided designers with invaluable inspiration’
    • ‘Forty different gardens are shown, providing inspiration for wonderful creations for your own home, regardless of the season.’
    • ‘With the help of such means, the process of inspiration is galvanized into a complete artistic and spiritual masterpiece.’
    • ‘All new creations are built on previous creations and provide inspiration for future ones.’
    • ‘She will continue to provide creative inspiration.’
    • ‘Fine artists would give inspiration and stimulus and craftsmen would give practical classes.’
    • ‘There are flashes of artistic inspiration and drive in an impromptu hip-hop dance battle and when the exhausted competitors compare post-rehearsal bruises.’
    • ‘But this was immediately challenged by Van de Velde's protest about the importance of individual artistic inspiration.’
    • ‘First, you have to have artistic direction that provides inspiration and vision balanced with savvy business acumen.’
    • ‘You'll be pleased to know relationships - especially with your own creative inspiration - are more responsive to play than to work right now.’
    • ‘They also looked at stories by popular authors like Roald Dahl for a flash of creative inspiration.’
    • ‘Our collection is the culmination of innovation, hard work, inspiration and creativity.’
    • ‘However, commentators often interpret isolated cases of this process of inspiration, adoption, and re-valuation as indicative of the whole.’
    • ‘Cameron was confident that relaxing and re-creating in the midst of mountain splendour would uplift creative energies and artistic inspiration.’
    • ‘The process of inspiration is active and requires energy for muscle contraction.’
    • ‘This was contrary to the idea (influenced by Romanticism) that an artist should rely on inspiration and creativity.’
    • ‘This network evolves and materializes through a process of inspiration, image, and historic precedent.’
    • ‘He kicked 21 points and, more importantly, provided the creative inspiration that led directly to at least two of the Aussies' tries.’
    • ‘The core group's ongoing responsibility lies in providing inspiration and awareness through individual artistic dreams.’
    • ‘Hence the emphasis on communication in her books, and the emphasis on artistic inspiration as a flash of objective vision.’
    • ‘In this way ‘Repulsed’ addresses the enigma of creative inspiration and articulates its own unique prose language in the process.’
    creativity, inventiveness, innovation, innovativeness, ingenuity, imagination, imaginativeness, originality, individuality
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    1. 1.1 The quality of being inspired, especially when evident in something.
      ‘a rare moment of inspiration in an otherwise dull display’
      • ‘It was a moment of inspiration for the Lions Club members in Toscana, Italy, that led to the building of these houses for the poor in Aroor, on the outskirts of the city.’
      • ‘Busby's men did not panic after such a setback and a moment of magical inspiration from new signing Robinson handed them the initiative again on 69 minutes.’
      • ‘I want it to be a place full of creative inspiration.’
      • ‘Both of them are clearly captivated by the easy charm and fluid inspiration that characterises Chaminade's music.’
      • ‘Colleagues praise her qualities of enthusiasm, energy and inspiration.’
      • ‘After all, in a moment of champagne-enhanced inspiration, he gave the whole nation a free ‘sickie’ for the day to celebrate!’
      • ‘His game was a blend of genius, inspiration and creativity.’
      • ‘Still and all, this lack of creative inspiration troubles me.’
      • ‘At this point Simon had a moment of inspiration.’
      • ‘In a brief moment of inspiration, I strung some string from the deck to the garage, sliced up some orange and green garbage bags into ribbons and tied them to the line.’
      • ‘And right now I feel not a grain of creativity, imagination or inspiration.’
      • ‘Moments of fervent inspiration are also part of this very short but telling musical prayer.’
      • ‘That question and her answer proved to be a rare moment of inspiration in a day of mayhem and murder.’
      • ‘In a moment of inspiration, Liz came up with Power Line.’
      • ‘In one great examples of such scenes, Julie is in the swimming pool and as she climbs off the edge of the pool, we, all of a sudden, witness her being hit by the music and a moment of inspiration.’
      • ‘Maybe it's just time for the marketing team to find a moment of inspiration and invent a new slogan?’
      • ‘At least there were shades of McFadden about the one moment of inspiration, although he must have been disappointed to find that it was provided by the visitors.’
      • ‘The book is full of the wisdom, wit, inspiration and passion for music pedagogy that made Chronister such a leader in the field.’
      • ‘As you're writing it you have these moments of inspiration, it's very rare, so when it happens you cling onto it.’
      • ‘Kilmarnock had been curiously subdued for much of the first half, their few moments of inspiration invariably featuring some involvement from Allan Johnston.’
    2. 1.2 A person or thing that inspires.
      ‘he is an inspiration to everyone’
      • ‘Drawing inspiration from his words, young Scottish climbers of the post-war generation strove to do some exploring of their own.’
      • ‘Cindi, you are an inspiration for everyone who's watching this program.’
      • ‘Drawing inspiration on anything from folk to pop and jazz to electronica, Chemistry is a refreshing and inventive record.’
      • ‘The Motherwell drivers are an inspiration to everyone, and their spirit should be an example to all.’
      • ‘She's followed the plan 100 per cent and is an inspiration for everyone who comes along.’
      • ‘Matt is an inspiration to everyone in San Francisco who believes in social justice and integrity.’
      • ‘He was an inspiration to everyone who worked for him.’
      • ‘Peter will not be forgotten because he was an inspiration to everyone he met.’
      • ‘Her mother's name was Estelle, which suggests it was the inspiration for Trudy's French alias.’
      • ‘Having witnessed him in training he is clearly an inspiration to everyone at the club constantly dispensing advice and encouragement to the other boxers coming through.’
      • ‘Drawing inspiration from pulp fiction, it presents a dark tale of love, sex, violence and loss.’
      • ‘Draw inspiration from this collection and maybe make your own banner for the next protest!’
      • ‘Draw inspiration from what's available and what you like.’
      • ‘Drawing inspiration from real life incidents, he makes hard-hitting films that revolve around issues concerning society.’
      • ‘Drawing inspiration from the anti-war movement, it aims to unite all those horrified by New Labour's programme of war and neoliberalism into a formidable electoral force.’
      • ‘He is an inspiration to everyone in the club and we hope he can continue his tremendous work in the future.’
      • ‘I have no idea what woman was the inspiration for that album, but most of the songs are sad ruminations of a love affair gone wrong.’
      • ‘No doubt she is an inspiration to each and everyone of us.’
      • ‘She was recalled at the launch last week and was described by Florence as ‘an inspiration to everyone’.’
      • ‘Kelly is an inspiration to everyone at the school and is a truly remarkable person.’
      stimulus, stimulation, motivation, motivating force, fillip, encouragement, influence, muse, goad, spur, lift, boost, incentive, incitement, impulse, catalyst
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  • 2A sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea.

    ‘then I had an inspiration’
    • ‘All of a sudden inspiration struck - I would call it Jabba.’
    • ‘A sudden inspiration caused Jordan to hop out of bed and rummage through her desk drawer to find a pad of paper and pen.’
    • ‘Kassie and Mike talked for another hour and a half, occasionally getting interrupted by something Mike had to do, or a sudden inspiration he had had.’
    • ‘All of which will remind you that moments of revelation, like sudden inspirations, should always be handled quite gingerly.’
    • ‘He looked at the far wall and with a sudden inspiration, clapped the book shut.’
    • ‘Jea got a sudden inspiration, she stuck out her arms and started turning and spinning in circles down the block, in the acid rain of New York City.’
    • ‘I haven't figured out what happens next but that doesn't mean that I won't have a sudden inspiration.’
    • ‘Suddenly her face lit up as if she had been hit with a sudden inspiration.’
    • ‘Sudden inspiration struck her, and she hurried over to the corner of the room.’
    • ‘On a sudden inspiration, he chose the one with the youngest operator.’
    • ‘A great idea, an inspiration, is a gift from the Gods.’
    • ‘If your most brilliant inspirations strike after dark, you can swing two feet on the floor and wheel into gear with mobile office equipment (available from office supply stores or catalogs).’
    • ‘You watch the show, you leave with a thought, a concept, an idea, an inspiration, something like that.’
    • ‘With a sudden inspiration I improvised, changing the speech to fit the occasion.’
    • ‘He could tell from the distant look in Seira's eyes that the other boy had been struck with a sudden inspiration for a piece.’
    • ‘Suddenly the inspiration dawned on me and I told them some half-baked excuse about job cuts and being given a Free Transfer to Millhampton.’
    • ‘Tzaer, having added all the ingredients, was about to put the cartridge into the pen when he had a sudden inspiration.’
    • ‘As I recalled the plot of ‘Tommy’, my eyes lit up with a sudden inspiration.’
    • ‘I stood back and looked at him, our mutual frustration apparent, when I had a sudden inspiration.’
    • ‘Jerry, who had been working in other branches of the performing arts, wanted everyone he selected present for every hour of rehearsal in case he had a sudden inspiration.’
    bright idea, brilliant idea, timely thought, revelation
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    1. 2.1 The divine influence believed to have led to the writing of the Bible.
      • ‘Dr Gordon Moyes has said, publicly and forthrightly, that there has never been a more urgent need to declare belief in the authority and inspiration of the Bible.’
      • ‘In 1782 he published his History of the Corruptions of Christianity, in which he rejected the Trinity, predestination and the divine inspiration of the Bible.’
      • ‘The second item measures belief in the divine inspiration and literal truth of the Bible.’
      • ‘After a childhood spent in his native Brittany he studied for the priesthood in Paris, but withdrew because of doubts about the divinity of Jesus and the divine inspiration of the Bible.’
      • ‘As Evangelicals, we know that the divine inspiration of the Scriptures is fundamental.’
  • 3The drawing in of breath; inhalation.

    • ‘The process of taking air into the lungs is called inspiration, or inhalation, and the process of breathing it out is called expiration, or exhalation.’
    • ‘Examiners compared observed systolic pressure between inspiration and expiration, and subtracted the two values.’
    • ‘A 24 year old woman presented with sudden onset shortness of breath and chest pain that was worse on inspiration.’
    • ‘It is easiest to hear breath sounds during inspiration and expiratory sounds are less well heard.’
    • ‘Apnea duration was defined as the time between the end of inspiration of the breath preceding a central apnea and the onset of inspiration of the breath terminating the apnea.’
    inhalation, breathing in, drawing in of breath
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    1. 3.1 An act of breathing in; an inhalation.
      • ‘Children were asked to take a maximal inspiration, followed immediately by a maximal forced expiratory maneuver without a pause in between.’
      • ‘Moreover, quiet breathing is regularly interrupted by deep inspirations in which tidal volume at least doubles and the forces on the tissue significantly increase.’
      • ‘The intrinsic elasticity of the airways would still allow the airway tree to distend with inspirations and relax with expiration.’
      • ‘The inspiratory phase of a cough starts with a deep inspiration resulting in increased lung volumes and increased elastic recoil pressure.’
      • ‘We have postulated that the loss of the bronchoprotective effect of deep inspirations can account for a substantial proportion of the phenomenon of airway hyperresponsiveness.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘divine guidance’): via Old French from late Latin inspiratio(n-), from the verb inspirare (see inspire).