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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.
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 insights
  • While the conference lacked some thematic unity, the speakers delivered a range of interesting insights.
  • It has also provided suggestive insights into the physiological cause of such mystifying syndromes as synesthesia and autism.
  • If it is about providing telling insights into how real economies function and malfunction, he still has few rivals.
  • People also say economics needs to incorporate the insights of psychology.
  • The new physics had begun as stunning, original insights.
  • Finance professors are not to blame for this, but they might have shouted more loudly that their insights were being misused.
  • These, however, are small weaknesses in a fascinating bag of evolutionary insights.
  • His enemies insinuate that it was not his political insights that were worth so much, but his influence and connections.
  • But if firms can preserve a little scepticism, they can surely squeeze important insights from the ever-growing store of data.
  • It does, though, bring up a pair of somewhat gloomy insights.
British Dictionary definitions for insights


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 insights



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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insights 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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Encyclopedia Article for insights


in learning theory, immediate and clear learning or understanding that takes place without overt trial-and-error testing. Insight occurs in human learning when people recognize relationships (or make novel associations between objects or actions) that can help them solve new problems.

Learn more about insight with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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