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[in-truh-spek-shuh n] /ˌɪn trəˈspɛk ʃən/
observation or examination of one's own mental and emotional state, mental processes, etc.; the act of looking within oneself.
the tendency or disposition to do this.
Origin of introspection
1670-80; < Latin intrōspect(us), past participle of intrōspicere to look within (equivalent to intrō- intro- + spec(ere) to look + -tus past participle suffix) + -ion
Related forms
introspectional, adjective
introspectionist, noun, adjective
1. self-examination, soul-searching. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for introspection
  • The soldiers were able to allow themselves a level of emotion and introspection that is simply not possible in combat.
  • Simply repeating the lies that have already been exposed as lies reveal a deep lack of introspection on your part.
  • He thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured, but could not purify himself.
  • He thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured, but could not purify, himself.
  • To its credit, the officer corps has responded not with excuses but with introspection.
  • The humor reaches such a crescendo of introspection and self-questioning that it ends up as its own best critic.
  • Any self-introspection on the safety of the housing market was also plagued by bias.
  • Indeed, some may be inaccessible to direct introspection but their presence might be revealed by brain imaging.
  • He believed in action, not self-defeating introspection.
  • It's the form of the introspection that struck me as relevant to this story.
British Dictionary definitions for introspection


the examination of one's own thoughts, impressions, and feelings, esp for long periods
Derived Forms
introspectional, introspective, adjective
introspectionist, noun
introspectively, adverb
introspectiveness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin intrōspicere to look within, from intro- + specere to look
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 introspection

1670s, noun of action from past participle stem of Latin introspicere "to look into, look at," from intro- "inward" (see intro-) + specere "to look at" (see scope (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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introspection in Medicine

introspection in·tro·spec·tion (ĭn'trə-spěk'shən)
Contemplation of one's own thoughts, feelings, and sensations; self-examination.

in'tro·spect' v.
in'tro·spec'tion·al adj.
in'tro·spec'tive (-tĭv) 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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introspection in Technology

programming, philosophy
A feature of some programming languages that allows a running program to obtain information about its own implementation.
For example, the Lisp function, "symbol-function" takes a Lisp symbol and returns the function definition associated with that symbol. Lisp is particularly suited to introspection because its source code uses the same underlying representation as its data. Another example is Perl's "can" method which returns true if a given object's class provides a given method.

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