noun in·sight \ ˈin-ˌsīt \
|Updated on: 21 Aug 2018

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

Examples of insight in a Sentence

  1. … I had a big insight and a little insight about the book. —Rust HillsEsquireApril 1973
  2. … realizing this gave me no insight into how to correct it. —Bartley McSwineChangeMay–June 1971
  3. … might well offer fresh insights as to the character and extent of the social adaptation involved. —George C. BarkerETCSummer 1945
  4. He is a leader of great insight.

  5. The author analyzes the problem with remarkable insight.

  6. I had a sudden insight.

  7. Her book provides us with fresh new insights into this behavior.

Recent Examples of insight from the Web

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.

First Known Use of insight

13th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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Synonym Discussion of 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

INSIGHT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of insight for English Language Learners

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

  • : an understanding of the true nature of something

INSIGHT Defined for Kids


noun in·sight \ ˈin-ˌsīt \

Definition of insight for Students

1 : the ability to understand a person or a situation very clearly
2 : the understanding of the truth of a situation

Medical Dictionary


noun 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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