"miraculous communication of supernatural knowledge or power," 1660s, from Latin afflatus "a breathing upon, blast," figuratively "inspiration," noun use of past participle of afflare "to blow upon," from ad "to" (see ad-) + flare "to blow" (from PIE root *bhle- "to blow"). The literal meaning "a blowing or breathing upon" is rare in English, this sense being taken by afflation.
"speak by divine inspiration, foretell future events," mid-14c., prophecein, prophesein, from Old French profeciier, prophecier (13c.), from prophecie (see prophecy). The noun and verb spellings were not fully differentiated until 18c. Related: Prophesied; prophesying. Other verb forms in Middle English were prophetise (mid-14c., from Old French profetisier and Latin prophetizare), prophet (mid-15c.).
mid-15c., member of a millenarian and severely ascetic sect that believed in continual direct inspiration of the spirit and featured women in prominent roles, from Montanus, Christian-inspired prophet in the wilds of Phrygia after c. 160 C.E. The heresy persisted into the 6c. and helped bring prophecy into disrepute in the established Church. Related: Montanism.
c. 1500, agent noun from inspire (v.). The Late Latin form, inspirator, is attested in English in 17c. in the Latin figurative sense but later was used literally as the name of a steam-engine part (1890). Inspirationist is "one who believes in the inspiration of the Scriptures (1846). As a fem. form of inspirer, inspiratrix (1819) has been used.
1961, "comedy that deals in themes and subjects usually regarded as serious or taboo," from black (adj.), in a figurative sense of "morbid," + comedy. Compare French pièce noire, also comédie noire "macabre or farcical rendering of a violent or tragic theme" (1958, perhaps the inspiration for the English term) and 19th-century gallows-humor. In a racial sense, from 1921.
a word used in English in various sense from late 19c. ("breath;" "spirit;" "soul;" "a breathing;" also as a technical term), from Greek pneuma "a blowing, a wind, blast; breeze; influence; breathed air, breath; odor, scent; spirit of a person; inspiration, a spirit, ghost," from pnein "to blow, to breathe," from PIE root *pneu- "to breathe," of imitative origin (compare Greek pnoe "breath," pnoia "breathing;" Old English fnora "sneezing," fnæran "to snort").
"epidemic influenza," 1776, probably from French grippe "influenza," originally "seizure," verbal noun from gripper "to grasp, hook," from Frankish or another Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *gripanan (see grip (v.), gripe (v.)). Supposedly in reference to constriction of the throat felt by sufferers; the word spread through European languages after the influenza epidemic during the Russian occupation of Prussia in the Seven Years' War (c. 1760), and Russian chirpu, said to be imitative of the sound of the cough, is sometimes said to be the origin or inspiration for the word.
mid-13c. "that which is given" (c. 1100 in surnames), from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse gift, gipt "gift; good luck," from Proto-Germanic *geftiz (source also of Old Saxon gift, Old Frisian jefte, Middle Dutch ghifte "gift," German Mitgift "dowry"), from *geb- "to give," from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive." For German Gift, Dutch, Danish, Swedish gift "poison," see poison (n.).
Sense of "natural talent" (regarded as conferred) is from c. 1300, perhaps from earlier sense of "inspiration, power miraculously bestowed" (late 12c.), as in the Biblical gift of tongues. Old English cognate gift is recorded only in the sense "bride-price, marriage gift (by the groom), dowry" (hence gifta (pl.) "a marriage, nuptials"). The Old English noun for "a giving, gift" was giefu, which is related to the Old Norse word. Sense of "natural talent" is c. 1300, perhaps from earlier sense of "inspiration" (late 12c.). The proverbial gift horse was earlier given horse:
No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth. [Heywood, 1546]
The modern form perhaps traces to Butler's "Hudibras" (1663), where the tight iambic tetrameter required a shorter phrase:
He ne'er consider'd it, as loth
To look a Gift-horse in the mouth.
also gobbledegook, "the overinvolved, pompous talk of officialdom" [Klein], 1944, American English, first used by Texas politician Maury Maverick (1895-1954), a grandson of the inspiration for maverick and chairman of U.S. Smaller War Plants Corporation during World War II, in a memo dated March 30, 1944, banning "gobbledygook language" and mock-threateaning, "anyone using the words activation or implementation will be shot." Maverick said he made up the word in imitation of turkey noise. Another word for it, coined about the same time, was bafflegab (1952).
1580s, from Late Latin ventriloquus, from Latin venter (genitive ventris) "belly" (see ventral) + loqui "to speak" (from PIE root *tolkw- "to speak"). Related: Ventriloquial; ventriloquize.
Patterned on Greek engastrimythos, literally "speaking in the belly," which was not originally an entertainer's trick but rather a rumbling sort of internal speech, regarded as a sign of spiritual inspiration or (more usually) demonic possession. Reference to the modern activity so called seems to have begun early 18c., and by 1797 it was being noted that this was a curiously inappropriate word to describe throwing the voice.