in·​ward | \ ˈin-wərd How to pronounce inward (audio) \

Definition of inward

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : situated on the inside : inner
2a : of or relating to the mind or spirit inward peace
b : absorbed in one's own mental or spiritual life : introspective
3 : marked by close acquaintance : familiar
4 : directed toward the interior


\ ˈin-wərd How to pronounce inward (audio) \
variants: or inwards \ ˈin-​wərdz How to pronounce inwards (audio) \

Definition of inward (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : toward the inside, center, or interior
2 : toward the inner being



Definition of inward (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : something that is inward
2 inwards\ ˈin-​ərdz How to pronounce inwards (audio) , -​wərdz\ plural : innards

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Synonyms & Antonyms for inward

Synonyms: Adjective

inner, inside, interior, internal

Antonyms: Adjective

exterior, external, outer, outside, outward

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Examples of inward in a Sentence


moved towards the inward room for more privacy he's more inward with the president than most members of the cabinet


The window faces inward toward the courtyard. He turned his attention inward.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The main function of the IT band is to stabilize the knee, assist with inward rotation, and help with hip abduction. Trihealth,, "Common running injuries," 21 June 2019 Meanwhile, as London prospers, the declining coastal and industrial areas that were so strongly supportive of Brexit suffer from a continued lack of inward investment. Matthew Goodwin, WSJ, "Europe’s Populists Are Here to Stay," 14 June 2019 According to general relativity, the inward gravitational collapse never stops. Quanta Magazine, "Why Black Hole Interiors Grow (Almost) Forever," 6 Dec. 2018 The demand for mail was the outward expression of my son’s inward imitation of me. Amy Joyce, Washington Post, "This is Fatherhood," 13 June 2019 Southern comfort Despite her inward misery, Sisi appeared outwardly beautiful, owing to her obsession with her appearance. National Geographic, "Life for this Bavarian princess was no fairy tale," 14 May 2019 By comparison, Germany and France, much bigger economies with more inward investments, have four cases between them. The Economist, "Disgruntled investors are losing patience with central Europe," 8 June 2019 Reddit user u/Waitingforadragon thinks that Jon's cold shoulder is an outward reflection of his inward identity crisis. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Why Didn't Jon Snow Say Goodbye to Ghost the Direwolf on 'Game of Thrones'?," 8 May 2019 The fall of his hand and the slight inward turn of his feet broadcast vulnerability and melancholy. Vogue, "“Friday I’m in Love”—A Valentine to Robert Smith as the Cure Is Inducted Into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame," 29 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

No, this is a time for UCF, USF and the rest of the AAC to look inward and make sure that what has happened to UConn doesn’t happen to them. Mike Bianchi,, "UConn going broke a cautionary tale for UCF, USF and other Group of 5 schools | Commentary," 3 July 2019 Currently, intellectual agendas in British universities operate to maintain a narrow, inward looking perspective that reinforces the logics of Orientalism (the Western attitude that views Eastern societies as exotic, primitive, and inferior). Katy Sian, Quartz, "“Liberal racism” continues to plague Britain’s universities," 27 June 2019 Missett was born pigeon-toed, with her feet and ankles turned inward. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "The 75-Year-Old Behind Jazzercise Keeps Dancing On Her Own," 21 June 2019 Do the work and look inward, with a little help from the latest in wellness. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "All the 2019 Wellness Trends in Katy Perry’s New Music Video," 31 May 2019 Its large, windowless central atrium—illuminated by faceted skylights, decorated with trees in travertine planters, and ringed with balconies and escalators—evokes nothing so much as an inward-turning, upscale shopping mall. Martin Filler, The New York Review of Books, "I.M. Pei: Establishment Modernism Lite," 24 May 2019 Trump’s inward-looking view is not unique, as nationalist leaders and movements are on the rise in Europe. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Trump in Normandy: ‘We are gathered here on freedom’s altar’," 6 June 2019 Turn the outer pointed edge inward to form a new triangle, and repeat until the entire flag is folded into a neat triangle. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, "American Flag Etiquette: Here's How to Properly Display the American Flag," 22 May 2019 Jason, who promised his clients gorgeous French doors that opened up into the backyard, realized too late that the doors opened inward instead of outward. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Best Room Wins Episode Two Steps Up to the Challenge of Contemporary," 9 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Bengoechea had pulled a medieval-looking flag from the Palazzo’s exterior through a window, allowing the flag to spill inwards, and cover the exquisite marble work like a carpet. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "In Her New Book, Wendy Goodman Asks May I Come In? Thankfully, a Lot of People Said Yes," 4 Oct. 2018 Such satellites would likely be lost during the chaos-inducing inward migration undertaken by these giants after their formation, the thinking goes. Mike Wall,, "First Exomoon Found? Neptune-Sized World Possibly Spotted Orbiting Alien Planet," 3 Oct. 2018 In the Charlottesville City Council, anger and resentment over last year’s march quickly turned inwards, as progressives went to war with themselves. James Loeffler, WSJ, "The Struggle for Charlottesville," 10 Aug. 2018 Aikens rallied on his inward nine and squared up his match vs. O’Leary with a birdie on No. Mia Berry,, "Defending MassAm champion Matt Parziale falls in quarters," 12 July 2018 July’s promise to you is something far greater and more enduring, and the temporary discomfort of quieting down and turning inwards will be well worth it. Bess Matassa, Teen Vogue, "Monthly Lovescopes July 2018," 2 July 2018 And so, in the months since my own diagnosis, my response has been to try and look outwards as well as inwards. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Inward Empire," 27 June 2018 The white garage door on the victim's house looked warped inwards, with enough space for someone to enter or exit. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "His friend said he wasn't returning calls. Homicide detectives now are investigating his death.," 24 June 2018 Do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing inwards towards the torso. Emily Abbate, GQ, "The Best Abs Workouts: GQ’s Definitive Guide to Getting a Ripped Stomach," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inward.' 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 inward


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inward


Middle English, from Old English inweard (akin to Old High German inwert), from in + -weard -ward entry 1

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Statistics for inward

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for inward

The first known use of inward was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for inward



English Language Learners Definition of inward

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to a person's mind or spirit
: directed or moving toward the inside of something



English Language Learners Definition of inward (Entry 2 of 2)

: toward the inside of something
: toward the mind or spirit


in·​ward | \ ˈin-wərd How to pronounce inward (audio) \

Kids Definition of inward

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : toward the inside or center an inward curve
2 : of or concerning the mind or spirit He felt inward joy.


variants: or inwards \ -​wərdz \

Kids Definition of inward (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : toward the inside or center The door opens inward.
2 : toward the mind or spirit I turned my thoughts inward.

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More from Merriam-Webster on inward

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inward

Spanish Central: Translation of inward

Nglish: Translation of inward for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inward for Arabic Speakers

Comments on inward

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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