Synonym Chooser

How does the noun insight differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of insight are acumen, discernment, discrimination, penetration, and perception. While all these words mean "a power to see what is not evident to the average mind," insight suggests depth of discernment coupled with understanding sympathy.

a documentary providing insight into the plight of the homeless

When is acumen a more appropriate choice than insight?

While in some cases nearly identical to insight, acumen implies characteristic penetration combined with keen practical judgment.

a director of reliable box-office acumen

Where would discernment be a reasonable alternative to insight?

Although the words discernment and insight have much in common, discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or appreciating art).

the discernment to know true friends

When could discrimination be used to replace insight?

In some situations, the words discrimination and insight are roughly equivalent. However, 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

When would penetration be a good substitute for insight?

The words penetration and insight can be used in similar contexts, but penetration implies a searching mind that goes beyond what is obvious or superficial.

lacks the penetration to see the scorn beneath their friendly smiles

When can perception be used instead of insight?

While the synonyms perception and insight are close in meaning, perception implies quick and often sympathetic discernment (as of shades of feeling).

a novelist of keen perception into human motives

Thesaurus Entries Near insight

Cite this Entry

“Insight.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/insight. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

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