[ 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

Middle English word dating back to 1150–1200; see origin at in-1, sight
Can be confusedincite insight Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for in sight


/ (ˈɪnˌsaɪt) /


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 Formsinsightful, 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

Word Origin and History for in sight



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

Medicine definitions for in sight


[ ĭnsīt′ ]


Understanding, especially an understanding of the motives and reasons behind one's actions.
Related formsinsight•ful (ĭnsīt′fəl, ĭn-sīt-) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with in sight

in sight


Within one's range of vision, as in The sailboat was still in sight on the horizon. [c. 1200]


Also, in one's sight or sights. Before one's eyes; also, within one's awareness. For example, In the world's sight he was at fault, or Harold had that promotion firmly in his sights. [c. 1200]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.