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.
  3. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.: to inspire a person with distrust.
  4. to influence or impel: Competition inspired her to greater efforts.
  5. to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does: They were inspired by a belief in a better future.
  6. to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence: writings inspired by God.
  7. to guide or control by divine influence.
  8. to prompt or instigate (utterances, acts, etc.) by influence, without avowal of responsibility.
  9. to give rise to, bring about, cause, etc.: a philosophy that inspired a revolution.
  10. to take (air, gases, etc.) into the lungs in breathing; inhale.
  11. Archaic.
    1. to infuse (breath, life, etc.) by breathing (usually followed by into).
    2. to breathe into or upon.

verb (used without object), in·spired, in·spir·ing.

  1. to give inspiration.
  2. to inhale.


  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
  3. (tr) to prompt or instigate; give rise toher beauty inspired his love
  4. (tr; often passive) to guide or arouse by divine influence or inspiration
  5. to take or draw (air, gas, etc) into the lungs; inhale
  6. (tr) archaic
    1. to breathe into or upon
    2. to breathe life into

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.


  1. To draw in breath; to inhale.
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