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

  • Thence they entered the inner Ceramicus, where Aspasia resided.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • What my inner self may be I am not prepared to say, but I know that it is there, as everyone else knows that it is in him.

  • Also of the inner court he writes of '4 Toures, wherof the Kepe is one.'

  • She never had been able to see the inner workings of Eileen's heart.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • He was led into an inner room where he saw a man seated at a large desk.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

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