Definition of inspire in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈspʌɪə/


[with object]
1Fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative: his philosophy inspired a later generation of environmentalists [with object and infinitive]: his passion for literature inspired him to begin writing
More example sentences
  • Let them stimulate your creativity and inspire you to begin a certification project in your own association.
  • The challenge inspires me to urge the government to decide boldly to go ahead with the Bid.
  • Pat's athletic ability inspired him to use his talents for the betterment of many local charities and so began a lifetime of running marathons for both worthy local causes and national charities.
stimulate, motivate, cause, incline, persuade, encourage, influence, rouse, move, stir, spur (on), goad, energize, galvanize, incite, impel;
animate, fire the imagination of, fire with enthusiasm
moving, affecting, memorable, striking, impressive, influential
1.1Create (a feeling, especially a positive one) in a person: their past record does not inspire confidence
More example sentences
  • The gearbox is tight, but positive and the steering inspires confidence.
  • It inspires feelings of affection and loyalty and such feelings are to be valued, not carelessly disregarded.
  • Just reading the name inspires feeling of pity - imagine sharing your middle name with a town most famous for having an unusually large bus station.
1.2 (inspire someone with) Animate someone with (a feeling): he inspired his students with a vision of freedom
More example sentences
  • A review of your native mountains, of their heights of gray sublimity, and their dark woody glens would now inspire you with more noble enthusiasm than all the fertile and classic shores of Greece.
  • The way the thing in Peru started, is because they were inspired with what we were doing here.
  • Paul and his mother both know that Mrs. Morel herself inspires Paul with the strength and the warmth to do his best at painting, but it is Miriam who brings out the intensity and the depth of his work.
1.3Give rise to: the film was successful enough to inspire a sequel
More example sentences
  • Asante's decision to make her central character an 18-year-old racist white girl was inspired by the rise in girl gang crime a few years ago.
  • Heading this new effort to bring styles inspired by the famous professional golfer to the market is David Capano, a former senior executive at Vantage.
  • That rise was inspired by the launch of the company's NavStream 3000 platform, which allows accurate indoor and outdoor positioning across a range of devices.
be the inspiration for
literary beget
2Breathe in (air); inhale: they can expand their lungs and inspire enough gas to satisfy oxygen requirements
More example sentences
  • In the current study, breathing pattern was measured using a pneumotachograph attached to a T piece while the patient inspired supplemental oxygen.



Pronunciation: /ɪnˈspʌɪərə/
Example sentences
  • Can Science Fiction writers, inspirers of futures, cause a seed change in the American imagination so that, in turn, our leaders can be influenced?
  • This isn't to say, however, that we should not be celebrating our brightest and best, our innovators, energisers and inspirers in the fields of arts, science, business and beyond.
  • It would mean that women would have a central part in the culture, as muses and inspirers certainly, but also as honourable beings in their own right.


Middle English enspire, from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare 'breathe or blow into' from in- 'into' + spirare 'breathe'. The word was originally used of a divine or supernatural being, in the sense 'impart a truth or idea to someone'.

  • spirit from Middle English:

    Our word spirit is based on Latin spiritus ‘breath or spirit’, from spirare ‘to breathe’—the ancient Romans believed that the human soul had been ‘breathed’ into the body—the image is the same as ‘the breath of life’. The sense ‘strong distilled alcoholic drink’ comes from the use in alchemy of spirit to mean ‘a liquid essence extracted from some substance’. People sometimes say the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak when they have good intentions but yield to temptation and fail to live up to them. The source is the New Testament, where Jesus uses the phrase after finding his disciples asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane despite telling them that they should stay awake. Spirare forms the basis of numerous English words including aspire (mid 16th century) from adspirare ‘to breath upon, seek to reach’; conspire (Late Middle English) from conspirare ‘to breath together, agree’; expire (late 16th century) ‘to breath out’; inspire (Late Middle English) ‘breath into’ from the idea that a divine or outside power has inspired you; and perspire (mid 17th century) ‘to breath through’; and transpire (Late Middle English) ‘breath across. In English spirit was shortened to sprite (Middle English) which in turn developed sprightly (late 16th century).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|spire

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