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 formsin·tro·spec·tion·al, adjectivein·tro·spec·tion·ist, noun, adjective

Synonyms for introspection Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for introspection

Contemporary Examples of introspection

Historical Examples of introspection

  • The boy's character was a compound of sensibility and hard rebelliousness, virility and introspection.

  • Now everything that can be apprehended by the senses or by introspection exists at some particular time.

  • In Japan introspection received early and powerful impetus from the religion of Buddha.

  • However, as she opened her napkin that evening the rush and emotional strain of the day brought a certain flash of introspection.

  • William James's theory of introspection, which Dunlap next examines, does not assume a single observer.

    The Analysis of Mind

    Bertrand Russell

British Dictionary definitions for introspection



the examination of one's own thoughts, impressions, and feelings, esp for long periods
Derived Formsintrospectional or introspective, adjectiveintrospectionist, nounintrospectively, adverbintrospectiveness, noun

Word Origin for introspection

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

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

Medicine definitions for introspection




Contemplation of one's own thoughts, feelings, and sensations; self-examination.
Related formsintro•spect′′tro•spective (-tĭv) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.