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From Old French inspirer, variant of espirer, from Latin īnspīrāre, present active infinitive of īnspīrō (inspire), itself a loan-translation of the Ancient Greek πνέω (pnéō, breathe) in the Bible, from in + spīrō (breathe).


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inspire (third-person singular simple present inspires, present participle inspiring, simple past and past participle inspired)

  1. (transitive) To infuse into the mind; to communicate to the spirit; to convey, as by a divine or supernatural influence; to disclose preternaturally; to produce in, as by inspiration.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Wisdom 15:11:
      He knew not his Maker, and him that inspired into him an active soul.
    • c. 1588-1593, William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus
      Dawning day new comfort hath inspired.
    • 2012 March-April, Anna Lena Phillips, “Sneaky Silk Moths”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 2, page 172:
      Last spring, the periodical cicadas emerged across eastern North America. Their vast numbers and short above-ground life spans inspired awe and irritation in humans—and made for good meals for birds and small mammals.
  2. (transitive) To infuse into; to affect, as with a superior or supernatural influence; to fill with what animates, enlivens or exalts; to communicate inspiration to.
    Elders should inspire children with sentiments of virtue.
    • (Can we date this quote by Dryden and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Erato, thy poet's mind inspire, / And fill his soul with thy celestial fire.
  3. (intransitive) To draw in by the operation of breathing; to inhale.
    • c. 1670, Gideon Harvey, Morbus Anglicus", Or a Theoretick and Practical Discourse of Consumptions and Hypochondriack Melancholy... Likewise a Discourse of Spitting of Blood
      By means of those sulfurous coal smokes the lungs are as it were stifled and extremely oppressed, whereby they are forced to inspire and expire the air with difficulty.
  4. To infuse by breathing, or as if by breathing.
  5. (archaic, transitive) To breathe into; to fill with the breath; to animate.
    • (Can we date this quote by Alexander Pope and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Descend, ye Nine, descend and sing, / The breathing instruments inspire.
  6. (transitive) To spread rumour indirectly.



Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.







  1. First-person singular (eu) present subjunctive of inspirar
  2. Third-person singular (ele, ela, also used with tu and você?) present subjunctive of inspirar
  3. Third-person singular (você) affirmative imperative of inspirar
  4. Third-person singular (você) negative imperative of inspirar




  1. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of inspirar.
  2. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of inspirar.
  3. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of inspirar.
  4. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of inspirar.