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From Latin afflatus, originally adflatu (compare English flatulence(digestive gas, fart)), past participle of afflo(to blow on). In artistic sense, introduced by Cicero in De Natura Deorum (The Nature of the Gods) (44 BCE) II.167, as alternative to existing and similar inspiration (literally “sucking in air”), which already had a more general and metaphorical sense, to emphasize specifically the initial insight and restore literal overtones.



afflatus ‎(plural afflatuses)

  1. A sudden rush of creative impulse or inspiration, often attributed to divine influence.
    • 44 BCE, Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II.167
      Nemo igitur vir magnus sine aliquo adflatu divino umquam fuit.
      No man was ever great without a touch of divine afflatus
      (Translation and quoted in 1949: H. L. Mencken, The Divine Afflatus)
    • Spence
      A poet writing against his genius will be like a prophet without his afflatus.
    • 1886, Henry James, The Bostonians.
      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.
  2. A breath or blast of wind.

Related terms[edit]




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


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

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


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