a. The excitement of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity: a singer who found her inspiration in popular songs of the 1920s.
b. The condition of being so excited: sat down to write in a sudden burst of inspiration.
c. The quality of being so excited, as manifested in something: a painting full of inspiration.
2. A person or thing that moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention: Gandhi has been an inspiration to political reformers for decades.
3. Something, such as a sudden creative act or idea, that is inspired: had an inspiration and saw a way to solve the problem.
4. Divine guidance or influence exerted directly on a human mind or soul.
5. The act of drawing in, especially the inhalation of air into the lungs.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.