situated within or farther within; interior: an inner door.
more intimate, private, or secret: the inner workings of the organization.
of or relating to the mind or spirit; mental; spiritual: the inner life.
not obvious; hidden or obscure: an inner meaning.
noting or relating to an aspect of a person's mind or personality that has not been fully discovered, revealed, or expressed: a place where anyone can find their inner artist regardless of skill level.

Origin of inner

before 900; Middle English; Old English innera, comparative based on the adv. inne within, inside; see inmost, -er4
Related formsin·ner·ly, adverb, adjectivein·ner·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inner

Contemporary Examples of inner

Historical Examples of inner

  • It mostly consisted of how the inner man should be sustained, and of anecdotes of agility in avoiding shot and shell.

  • He escorted her to the inner room, which served as his own study and consultation chambers.

    The Broken Gate

    Emerson Hough

  • For a man who hasn't a taste for artillery, it occurs to me, my friend, you are keeping up a pretty lively fire on my inner works.

    Marjorie Daw

    Thomas Bailey Aldrich

  • He kept very close at that young man's side as the strange party moved on into the inner chamber.

    The Fortieth Door

    Mary Hastings Bradley

  • And yet he who seeks a meaning in these things and a value and an inner development may come to another kind of truth.

British Dictionary definitions for inner


adjective (prenominal)

being or located further insidean inner room
happening or occurring insideinner movement
relating to the soul, mind, spirit, etcinner feelings
more profound or obscure; less apparentthe inner meaning
exclusive or privateinner regions of the party
chem (of a compound) having a cyclic structure formed or apparently formed by reaction of one functional group in a molecule with another group in the same moleculean inner ester


Also called: red archery
  1. the red innermost ring on a target
  2. a shot which hits this ring
Derived Formsinnerly, adverbinnerness, noun
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 inner

c.1400, from Old English inra, comp. of inne (adv.) "inside" (see in). Cf. Old High German innaro, German inner. An unusual evolution for a comparative, it has not been used with than since Middle English. Inner tube in the pneumatic tire sense is from 1894. Inner city, in reference to poverty and crime, is attested from 1968.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper