in·sight | \ˈin-ˌsīt \

Definition of insight 

1 : the power or act of seeing into a situation : penetration

2 : the act or result of apprehending the inner nature of things or of seeing intuitively

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Choose the Right Synonym for insight

discernment, discrimination, perception, penetration, insight, acumen mean a power to see what is not evident to the average mind. discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or appreciating art). the discernment to know true friends discrimination stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate or excellent. the discrimination that develops through listening to a lot of great music perception implies quick and often sympathetic discernment (as of shades of feeling). a novelist of keen perception into human motives penetration implies a searching mind that goes beyond what is obvious or superficial. lacks the penetration to see the scorn beneath their friendly smiles insight suggests depth of discernment coupled with understanding sympathy. a documentary providing insight into the plight of the homeless acumen implies characteristic penetration combined with keen practical judgment. a director of reliable box-office acumen

Examples of insight in a Sentence

… I had a big insight and a little insight about the book. — Rust Hills, Esquire, April 1973 … realizing this gave me no insight into how to correct it. — Bartley McSwine, Change, May–June 1971 … might well offer fresh insights as to the character and extent of the social adaptation involved. — George C. Barker, ETC, Summer 1945 He is a leader of great insight. The author analyzes the problem with remarkable insight. I had a sudden insight. Her book provides us with fresh new insights into this behavior.
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Recent Examples on the Web

For now, the radio transmitters have already vastly expanded the options for infectious disease specialists and entomologists hoping to gain insight into the covert lives of kissing bugs. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Tiny Trackers Could Help Humans Avoid Kissing Bugs’ Deadly Smooch," 9 July 2018 If successful, Microsoft will gain insight into the minutiae of its competitors’ innovative processes as well as their programmers’ personal data. Adam Candeub, WSJ, "Will Microsoft’s Embrace Smother GitHub?," 24 June 2018 This gives astronomers a kind of roadmap for detecting other newly-forming planets around other stars, which will give us more insights into how planets form. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The First Picture of a Newborn Planet," 2 July 2018 The president gave some insight into what the leaders discussed, and referred to the document the pair signed—before reporters had seen an official version. Siobhan Morrin, Time, "'Think of It From a Real Estate Perspective': The Most Memorable Quotes From the Trump-Kim Summit Press Conference," 12 June 2018 Celmatix makes money by offering its big data insights to fertility clinics for an annual fee based on patient volume, which can run into the six figures. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "This Company Wants Your Fertility Data," 13 July 2018 The looping language conveys one of its main insights: that families, businesses and countries are made of the DNA of generations. The Economist, "On stage, the saga of the Lehman brothers is a parable of America," 12 July 2018 Winfrey will join the brand’s board of directors and extend her strategic insight on growing the company, Barone said. Hailey Mensik,, "True Food Kitchen to expand — with Oprah’s help," 11 July 2018 Coffee experts from Brazil, the world’s biggest producer, have traveled to Gorongosa to offer their insights. Washington Post, "Coffee and conservation: Mozambique tries both on a mountain," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insight.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of insight

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for insight

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insight

The first known use of insight was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for insight



English Language Learners Definition of insight

: the ability to understand people and situations in a very clear way

: an understanding of the true nature of something


in·sight | \ˈin-ˌsīt \

Kids Definition of insight

1 : the ability to understand a person or a situation very clearly

2 : the understanding of the truth of a situation


in·sight | \ˈin-ˌsīt \

Medical Definition of insight 

1 : understanding or awareness of one's mental or emotional state or condition

2 : immediate and clear understanding (as seeing the solution to a problem or the means to reaching a goal) that takes place without recourse to overt trial-and-error behavior

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Comments on insight

What made you want to look up insight? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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