v n. A sudden rush of divine or poetic inspiration. From the Latin afflare — to breathe or blow on. Inspiration itself means a breathing in. Why the ancients should have chosen the breath of the gods or muses — rather than their touch, voice, etc. — as the means of communicating superhuman knowledge or creativity is not quite clear. While dining out with your beloved, you might suddenly put down your knife and fork, gasp, strike your forehead with your hand, lean forward tensely, and say, in unconcealed agitation: “Jennifer, I think I’ve just had an afflatus!”
Taken from The Superior Person’s Book of Words.