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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Target customers include banks and other involved in credit scoring work, where acquiring insight from a broad range of data sources can build much more accurate pictures of potential borrowers. David Prosser, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 Each week Variety’s esteemed editorial team will provide insights and analysis to accompany the charts. William Earl, Variety, 29 Feb. 2024 New research of a stinging, buzzing environmental threat offers some insight into how and why. Popular Science, 29 Feb. 2024 Burn Book finally offers some insight as to what the answer might be. Bypaolo Confino, Fortune, 28 Feb. 2024 First-Hand Account Testimonials When navigating the choice between pursuing a CFP® designation, a CPA certification, or both, individuals often seek insights from those with firsthand experience. Bryce Welker, Miami Herald, 28 Feb. 2024 Even with prices edging down, Ivan Drury, director of insights at Edmunds, doesn't foresee sales of new vehicles rising dramatically this year. Tom Krisher, Quartz, 28 Feb. 2024 But not everyone is waiting for these kinds of mechanistic insights, let alone definitive clinical data, before jumping on the 40-Hz bandwagon. IEEE Spectrum, 28 Feb. 2024 My writing partner Rachel Hartman interviewed me on my podcast to gather material, which allowed listeners to gain insight and learn about the book before it was published. James Nelson, Forbes, 17 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'insight.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 3 Mar. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!