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[in-sahyt] /ˈɪnˌsaɪt/
an instance of apprehending the true nature of a thing, especially through intuitive understanding:
an insight into 18th-century life.
penetrating mental vision or discernment; faculty of seeing into inner character or underlying truth.
  1. an understanding of relationships that sheds light on or helps solve a problem.
  2. (in psychotherapy) the recognition of sources of emotional difficulty.
  3. an understanding of the motivational forces behind one's actions, thoughts, or behavior; self-knowledge.
Origin of insight
1150-1200; Middle English; see in-1, sight
Can be confused
incite, insight (see synonym study at incite)
2. perception, apprehension, intuition, understanding, grasp. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for insight
  • Similar results were obtained in the second study, in which performance on three insight problems was gauged.
  • Besides being rather cool, the result provides new insight into how to treat traumatic memories in people.
  • Yet despite years of study, new insight into the creature's unusual form of communication continues to come to light.
  • The biology underlying this self-image has proven difficult to figure out, but the results of a new study offer some insight.
  • Humans retain an edge over computers when complex problems require intuition and leaps of insight rather than brute calculation.
  • The paper was likely listed to provide more insight into polymer solar cell design.
  • The findings offer insight into how this particular genetic variation and smoking interact to cause lung cancer.
  • Illustrations provide insight on sustaining humanity and alternative energy spending.
  • The results offer new insight into why malaria patients often deteriorate significantly at the fever stage.
  • The phenomenon could offer new insight into human immune reactions to foreign cells.
British Dictionary definitions for insight


the ability to perceive clearly or deeply; penetration
a penetrating and often sudden understanding, as of a complex situation or problem
  1. the capacity for understanding one's own or another's mental processes
  2. the immediate understanding of the significance of an event or action
(psychiatry) the ability to understand one's own problems, sometimes used to distinguish between psychotic and neurotic disorders
Derived Forms
insightful, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for insight

c.1200, innsihht, "sight with the eyes of the mind," mental vision, understanding," from in + sight. Sense shaded into "penetrating understanding into character or hidden nature" (1580s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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insight in Medicine

insight in·sight (ĭn'sīt')
Understanding, especially an understanding of the motives and reasons behind one's actions.

in'sight·ful (ĭn'sīt'fəl, ĭn-sīt'-) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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insight in Technology

A simulation and modelling language especially for health care problems.
["Simulation Modeling with INSIGHT", S.D. Roberts Proc 1983 Winter Sim Conf, S.D. Roberts et al eds, pp.7-16].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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