in·​sight ˈin-ˌsīt How to pronounce insight (audio)
: the power or act of seeing into a situation : penetration
: the act or result of apprehending the inner nature of things or of seeing intuitively
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

Example Sentences

… 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web City Clerk Jeremy Bocchino said Thursday that because the county coordinates all ballot counting, Culver City does not have any special insight into outstanding ballots. Connor Sheetsstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 11 Nov. 2022 Beyond that, Calipari had no insight on the severity of Wheeler's injury. Ryan Black, The Courier-Journal, 31 Oct. 2022 Yale Law professor Amy Kapczynski has unique insight into what the Supreme Court could do this term and what its actions will mean for the current and future state of our democracy. How To Save A Country, The New Republic, 13 Oct. 2022 His college coach, Thom Ortiz, who has recently revived the wrestling program at Scottsdale Saguaro High School, has some insight. Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, 8 Oct. 2022 Further, accountants have unique insight into existing business processes and understand how the company’s economic engine is truly functioning. Mike Whitmire, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2022 By all accounts, Hava at 12 had excellent insight, precociously recorded in her journals; at 6, Rachel had none. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, 16 Sep. 2022 While the celebrity parents still haven't introduced their child to the world, Bledel's former Gilmore Girls costar Scott Patterson had some insight into her life as a mother. Joelle Goldstein, Peoplemag, 31 Aug. 2022 Homebuilders, who may have the best insight into demand and costs, are much less confident. The Week Staff, The Week, 28 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near insight

Cite this Entry

“Insight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



in·​sight ˈin-ˌsīt How to pronounce insight (audio)
: the power or act of seeing into or understanding a situation

Medical Definition



in·​sight ˈin-ˌsīt How to pronounce insight (audio)
: understanding or awareness of one's mental or emotional state or condition
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on insight

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