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Insight vs. Incite

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2:23 min read
  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Homophones are words that share the same pronunciation but differ in spelling and meaning, such as to, too, two; and so, sew, and sow. Homophones and confusingly similar words are the stuff that malapropisms are made of. A malapropism is the unintentional misuse of a word by confusion with one of similar sound, with humorous results. The words insight and incite sound very similar, but their meanings are very different.

This article covers everything about these two words.


Insight originated from Middle English (in the sense ‘inner sight, wisdom’): probably of Scandinavian and Low German origin and related to Swedish insikt, Danish indsigt, Dutch inzicht, and German Einsicht.

Insight as noun:

Insight is used as a noun in English language where it means the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something.

His mind soared to previously unattainable heights of insight.

An accurate and deep understanding is also insight.

His work provides important insights into language use.

In psychology, awareness by a mentally ill person that their mental experiences are not based in external reality is called insight.

Incite as verb:

Incite is used as verb in English language where it means encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behavior).

Insight vs. Incite

They conspired to incite riots.

Another meaning of incite is urge or persuade (someone) to act in a violent or unlawful way.

He incited loyal subjects to rebellion.


“Anyone who writes or prints any news or articles that threaten the internal or external security of the state or the indivisible integrity of its territory and nation, which tend to incite offence, riot or insurrection, or which refer to classified state secrets, and anyone who prints or transmits such news or articles to others for the above purposes shall be held responsible under the law relevant to these offences.” (Today’s Zaman)

The czar’s clerics called the Ottomans’ Orthodox population to arms, while the Ottomans tried to incite Russia’s Muslims in the Crimean peninsula and in the Caucasus. (The New York Times)

Can austerity win an election? Portugal offers an insight as voters ready for ballot (U.S News & World Report)

There’s neither real suspense nor true insight into the motivations of Nichols and Smith beyond the requirements of a basic thriller scenario. (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Insight or incite:

Incite means to stir up, to rouse to action. Incite is a transitive verb which is a verb that takes an object. Related verb forms are incites, incited and inciting. Derived nouns are incitement and inciter. Insight is a noun which means the ability of seeing things deeply, understanding the complexities and nuances of a thing or situation. In psychology, insight means the ability to understand one’s own mental processes. In psychiatry, insight means the ability to understand one’s own mental processes and categorize psychotic and neurotic disorders. A derived adjective is insightful.

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