Take this building. I find it particularly inspires in me aspirations – aspirations of social prestige and material success.

So I am then aspirational. Is there a word that describes the building, with its role of inspiring aspirations in people? "aspirational" almost feels like it fits, but its definition seems to limit it to the beings who aspire:

having or characterized by aspirations to achieve social prestige and material success

Is "aspirational" a valid word to describe that building? If not, what words might be appropriate in conveying "the inspiration of aspiration"?


2 Answers 2



adjective 1. providing or showing creative or spiritual inspiration. "the team's inspirational captain" [Google]

  • This was also the first word that came to my mind.
    – Barmar
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 20:42

inspire and aspire share the same latin origin, based on the word spirae (to breathe). The prefix in (into) is causative. The prefix a (from "ad", meaning "to") is effective.

You are looking for the causative (that which causes you to aspire is that which inspires you). The word is Inspirational (in + spirae + al where al ties the word to mean act of (verb)ing, or in this case act of breathing into or, in modern interpretation, act of inspiring.)

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