inspoInspo n. (Buzzword) Slang for something one finds to be inspirational.

Etymology: Clipping of the word “Inspiration”. Inspire (Late Latin inspirare, to breathe upon) + ation (Latin ation, indicating action). It originated as a hashtag used on many social media sites like twitter, pinterest, instagram, and tumblr.

Sociolectal Information:  The term inspo is used frequently on social media. Inspo is most often in reference to fashion, quotes, aesthetically pleasing photographs, and photographs of ideal lifestyles. Writing and art are also common sources of “inspo”. The word is predominantly used by young women in the form of a hashtag (#inspo), but the word can be used with or without it. Many people find this word to be useful to find things that inspire them as then to catalogue those discoveries. For example, one would tag a photo of a city as “#travel inspo” on social media sites like tumblr or pinterest. The word is utilized on the internet much more often than it is ever spoken aloud. Inspo was coined approximately in 2013 and its popularity has been steadily rising. It is also extremely productive, lending itself to “fitspo” (fitness inspiration), “thinspo” (thin inspiration), “healthspo” (health inspiration), etc. “Thinspo” has caused controversy as it is seen as encouraging the development of eating disorders, bringing a negative connotation to the varying forms of “inspo”.

Survival Predictions: I believe this word will continue to thrive.  Although it is not a necessary per se to have another word for inspiration, inspo is short, easily used online, and productive.  Inspo utilized to catalogue or tag inspirational material has proved extremely useful to many. Its ability to be used successfully with or without the hashtag makes it even more versatile.  The success of this word as a hashtag will probably outlast its success in any other context. I do not see this term being used with the public at large or becoming common in spoken language, but I think it will thrive within niche social media communities.

Lexopinions:  I personally find this word to be annoying, predominantly due to the cliche nature of many #inspo posts I have seen online. I have never used it, and infrequently use hashtags at all. That being said, many of my friends use this word on their social medias, so I do see its relevancy and utility. For those that use hashtags and are invested in “___ inspo” topics, “inspo” can be a great addition to their vocabulary.


  1. I have definitely seen this around, especially on social media websites. I find it less annoying than you might, though this is also probably because I’ve generally seen it used in a slightly different context (here, it seems to be used pretty similarly to #aesthetic).

    I follow a lot of hopeful writers on Tumblr (whether their objective is fanfiction or original fiction tends to vary) who tag posts they feel are inspiring to their writing with “inspo” – for example, a blogger interested in writing fantasy might tag an art piece of a witch or a mermaid as #inspo, so that they might revisit the post later through their tags and have it there.

    A few of the people I follow (and you can decide whether this is even still relevant to the term; apologies if you think not) even have very specific writing inspiration tags that no longer use “inspiration” in their wording at all. Having followed them for a while, I noticed when their tagging changed, and they definitely used to use “inspo”.

    (A few examples off the top of my head: “and the scariest thing in the forest was her” as well as “and the humans told stories”)

Speak Your Mind