in·​ward·​ness | \ ˈin-wərd-nəs How to pronounce inwardness (audio) \

Definition of inwardness

1 : internal quality or substance
2 : close acquaintance : familiarity
3 : fundamental nature : essence
4 : absorption in one's own mental or spiritual life

Examples of inwardness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web What the early monks and the Christian mystics who followed sought was union—an intense experience of inwardness that is glaringly absent in what many of us get from American Christianity today. Fred Bahnson, Harpers Magazine, "The Gate of Heaven Is Everywhere," 5 Jan. 2021 Kierkegaard’s concept of inwardness gives us this task in a very different form. Christopher Beha, Harper's Magazine, "Difficulties Everywhere," 27 Apr. 2020 Most of all, perhaps, a reading of inwardness could be prompted by her own layered self-invention, exemplified in her decision to become Anna Kavan in the first place. Lidija Haas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 20 Jan. 2020 So Baccini, De Nicolao, and their team set out to develop an indicator of inwardness, which measures both self-referential and intranational citations. Giorgia Guglielmi, Science | AAAS, "Clubby and ‘disturbing’ citation behavior by researchers in Italy has surged," 11 Sep. 2019 All of the nations showed modest rises in inwardness over time, which can be explained, paradoxically, by a growth in international collaborations. Giorgia Guglielmi, Science | AAAS, "Clubby and ‘disturbing’ citation behavior by researchers in Italy has surged," 11 Sep. 2019 In these works, Sironi, like De Chirico, Morandi and Carrà, each in his own way, penetrated to the inwardness of physical forms to reveal that every object, truly observed, is mysterious. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘Metaphysical Masterpieces 1916-1920: Morandi, Sironi, and Carrà’ Review: Every Object’s Mysteries," 16 Jan. 2019 And, unusually, Moser’s interpretation proved more memorable for inwardness than emphatic display. Alan Artner,, "In the heat, Moser, Grant Park Orchestra perform a delicate Dvorak," 30 June 2018 The nearly hourlong Schubert work is a large-scale concert mass and at the same time a deeply personal expression of faith: music of spirituality and inwardness but also music of confession. John Von Rhein,, "Under Muti's baton, CSO Chorus delivers fervent, sensitive reading of Schubert's Mass in E flat," 23 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of inwardness

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inwardness

Time Traveler for inwardness

Time Traveler

The first known use of inwardness was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for inwardness

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inwardness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

Comments on inwardness

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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