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Middle English inwardnesse; equivalent to inward +‎ -ness


inwardness (countable and uncountable, plural inwardnesses)

  1. The characteristic of being inward; directed towards the inside.
  2. (obsolete) Internal or true state; essential nature.
    the inwardness of conduct
    • Dr. H. More
      Sense can not arrive to the inwardness of things.
  3. (obsolete) intimacy; familiarity
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 4 Scene 1
      BENEDICK. Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you:
      And though you know my inwardness and love
      Is very much unto the prince and Claudio,
      Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
      As secretly and justly as your soul
      Should with your body.
  4. (obsolete) heartiness; earnestness
    • Matthew Arnold
      What was wanted was more inwardness, more feeling.



Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for inwardness in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)