afflatus

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English[edit]

A detail from Sandro Botticelli’s Nascita di Venere (The Birth of Venus, c. 1486) depicting Zephyrus, the Greek god of the west wind, blowing the seaborne Venus to the shore. The woman in his arms is probably his wife Chloris, the goddess of flowers and spring. The painting is in the collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

Etymology[edit]

From Latin afflātus (a breath, an act of breathing out or breathing upon; breeze, gust of air, vapour, wind; inspiration), from afflāre (from afflō (to blow, to breathe), from ad- (prefix meaning ‘to, towards) + flō (to blow, to breathe)) + -tus (suffix producing an action noun from a verb). The related Latin word adflātū was first used in the “inspiration” sense by the Roman orator and philosopher Cicero (106–43 B.C.E.) in De Natura Deorum (The Nature of the Gods, 44 B.C.E.), book II, section 167.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

afflatus (plural afflatuses)

  1. A sudden rush of creative impulse or inspiration, often attributed to divine influence.
    • 1726, [Joseph Spence], “Evening the Third”, in An Essay on Pope's Odyssey: In which some Particular Beauties and Blemishes of that Work are Consider'd, London: Printed for James and J. Knapton, R. Knaplock, W. and J. Innys, J. Wyatt, D. Midwinter, booksellers in St. Paul's Church-Yard, London; and S. Wilmot, bookseller in Oxford, OCLC 753211929, pages 147–148:
      'Tis extremely difficult to keep up the Spirit of Poetry in another's Compoſitions, tho' you catch all the [] apteſt Moments; and never employ the Mind, but when there is an Impetus comes upon it toward that particular buſineſs: [] I know not how far this was the Caſe with Mr. [Alexander] Pope, in this performance: but wherever it was, the Poet will be little more than a common Man: He is, at ſuch times, much the ſame as a Prophet without his Afflatus.
    • 1822, Simon Patrick; William Lowth; Richard Arnald; Daniel Whitby; Moses Lowman, “The First Epistle to Timothy. With Annotations. [Annotations on Chap. IV.]”, in J[ohn] R[ogers] Pitman, editor, A Critical Commentary and Paraphrase on the Old and New Testament and the Apocrypha. [...] In Six Volumes, volume VI, new edition, London: Printed by J. F. Dove, St. John's Square; for Richard Priestley, 143, High Holborn, OCLC 6430665, page 293:
      [] Men acted by seducing spirits: for πνεύματα doth often signify the impulses or afflatuses of good or evil spirits; [] You are zealous, πνευματων, of spiritual gifts, or afflatuses, and so throughout the chapter; []
    • 1885–1886, Henry James, “chapter XVII”, in The Bostonians: A Novel, London; New York, N.Y.: Macmillan and Co., published 16 February 1886, OCLC 3179002, page 141:
      Miss Verena was a natural genius, and he hoped very much she [Miss Chancellor] wasn't going to take the nature out of her. She could study up as she went along; she had got the great thing that you couldn't learn, a kind of divine afflatus, as the ancients used to say, and she had better just begin on that.
    • 1920, H[enry] L[ouis] Mencken, “The National Letters. 4. The Ferment Underground.”, in Prejudices: Second Series, New York, N.Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, OCLC 226060843, page 26:
      Imagine a sentimental young man of the provinces, awaking one morning to the somewhat startling discovery that he is full of the divine afflatus, and nominated by the hierarchy of hell to enrich the literature of his fatherland.

Synonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cicero; H. Rackham, translator (1967) De Natura Deorum; Academica (Cicero in Twenty-eight Volumes; XIX; Loeb Classical Library; 268), Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, OCLC 371890, book II, LXVI, section 167, pages 282–283: “Nemo igitur vir magnus sine aliquo adflatu divino umquam fuit. [Therefore no great man ever existed who did not enjoy some portion of divine inspiration.]”

External links[edit]


Latin[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Perfect passive participle of afflō (I blow, breathe (on or towards)).

Participle[edit]

afflātus m (feminine afflāta, neuter afflātum); first/second declension

  1. blown, breathed on, having been blown or breathed on

Inflection[edit]

First/second declension.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
nominative afflātus afflāta afflātum afflātī afflātae afflāta
genitive afflātī afflātae afflātī afflātōrum afflātārum afflātōrum
dative afflātō afflātō afflātīs
accusative afflātum afflātam afflātum afflātōs afflātās afflāta
ablative afflātō afflātā afflātō afflātīs
vocative afflāte afflāta afflātum afflātī afflātae afflāta

References[edit]