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[in-spahyuh r] /ɪnˈspaɪər/
verb (used with object), inspired, inspiring.
to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence:
His courage inspired his followers.
to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.):
to inspire confidence in others.
to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.:
to inspire a person with distrust.
to influence or impel:
Competition inspired her to greater efforts.
to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does:
They were inspired by a belief in a better future.
to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence:
writings inspired by God.
to guide or control by divine influence.
to prompt or instigate (utterances, acts, etc.) by influence, without avowal of responsibility.
to give rise to, bring about, cause, etc.:
a philosophy that inspired a revolution.
to take (air, gases, etc.) into the lungs in breathing; inhale.
  1. to infuse (breath, life, etc.) by breathing (usually followed by into).
  2. to breathe into or upon.
verb (used without object), inspired, inspiring.
to give inspiration.
to inhale.
Origin of inspire
1300-50; Middle English inspiren < Latin inspīrāre to breathe upon or into, equivalent to in- in-2 + spīrāre to breathe
Related forms
[in-spahyuh r-uh-tiv, in-spi-rey-tiv] /ɪnˈspaɪər ə tɪv, ˈɪn spɪˌreɪ tɪv/ (Show IPA),
inspirer, noun
inspiringly, adverb
preinspire, verb (used with object), preinspired, preinspiring.
pseudoinspiring, adjective
reinspire, verb, reinspired, reinspiring.
uninspiring, adjective
uninspiringly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for inspiring
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It has proved to be the inspiring theme of many a local poet.

    Foot-prints of Travel Maturin M. Ballou
  • Napier took the right method of inspiring his men with his own heroic spirit.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • Franklin and Emerson maintained theirs with a convincing ease, an inspiring joy.

    Discourses in America Matthew Arnold
  • Lydia,” said she, “is there anything ‘awe’-inspiring in this display of the elements?

    An Encore Margaret Deland
  • On September 1, he conducted his service at Vartov as usual, preaching an exceptionally warm and inspiring sermon.

    Hymns and Hymnwriters of Denmark Jens Christian Aaberg
British Dictionary definitions for inspiring


to exert a stimulating or beneficial effect upon (a person); animate or invigorate
(transitive; foll by with or to; may take an infinitive) to arouse (with a particular emotion or to a particular action); stir
(transitive) to prompt or instigate; give rise to: her beauty inspired his love
(transitive; often passive) to guide or arouse by divine influence or inspiration
to take or draw (air, gas, etc) into the lungs; inhale
(transitive) (archaic)
  1. to breathe into or upon
  2. to breathe life into
Derived Forms
inspirable, adjective
inspirative, adjective
inspirer, noun
inspiringly, adverb
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: to breathe upon, blow into): from Latin inspīrāre, from spīrāre to breathe
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 inspiring



mid-14c., enspiren, "to fill (the mind, heart, etc., with grace, etc.);" also "to prompt or induce (someone to do something)," from Old French enspirer (13c.), from Latin inspirare "inflame; blow into" (see inspiration), a loan-translation of Greek pnein in the Bible. General sense of "influence or animate with an idea or purpose" is from late 14c. Also sometimes used in literal sense in Middle English Related: Inspired; inspires; inspiring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inspiring in Medicine

inspire in·spire (ĭn-spīr')
v. in·spired, in·spir·ing, in·spires
To draw in breath; to inhale.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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