Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Inward knowledge or understanding.
  • n. Conscience; inward sense of morality.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Inward sense; mind; understanding; conscience.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Inward knowledge; understanding; conscience.

Etymologies

From Middle English inwit ("mind, reason, intellect, understanding; soul, spirit; feeling; the collection of inner faculties; one of five inner faculties; one of the outer bodily senses.; inward awareness of right or wrong, conscience"), from Old English *inwitt, inġewitnes ("consciousness, conscience, knowledge, knowing"), equivalent to in- +‎ wit. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Anyway, the most obvious distinction is that the sociopath would presumably remove the implant if he could, while most of us would not want to anaesthetise the agenbite of inwit, if this were somehow possible.

    Not Lovely, Lovely Ludwig Van!

  • May 18, 2008 at 4:55 pm iz dat teh ag-inbite ub inwit?

    When fleas go unchecked - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

  • Some of it is maybe "agenbite of inwit," the Middle English phrase meaning remorse of conscience.

    Rectitude Chic

  • His subsequent interest in Shintoism and Buddhism lacks the mordancy and introspection (the "agenbite of inwit," as Joyce liked to put it) of his earlier hermeneutic investigations.

    The Immortal

  • And, oh yes, my theory has been peer-reviewed but not in any of your so-called biased scientific journals. inwit

    Breaking news: Darwin appears in holy frying pan! - The Panda's Thumb

  • What James Joyce called the agenbyte of inwit - a remorse of consciousness.

    justinker Diary Entry

  • His refusal to take part in the family's prayers for her seems to have stimulated that remorse of conscience, that "agenbite of inwit" which reechoes through Ulysses.

    James Joyce

  • They are so thoroughly unhealthy, so morbid, so pallid with moonlight, so indentured by the ayenbite of inwit, that it is hard to believe that

    Shandygaff

  • Denum æðeling tō yppan, _the prince_ (Bēowulf), _honored by the Danes, went to the high seat_, 1815; ēode ... under inwit-hrōf, 3124; pl. þǣr swīðferhðe sittan ēodon, 493; ēodon him þā tōgēanes, _went to meet him_,

    Beowulf

  • S. proposes: ēode eahta sum under inwit-hrōf hilderinca: sum on handa bær, etc.

    Beowulf

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A writer should write not as might Joyce
    Bu in an authentic and "right" voice.
    When a sinner's been bit 
    By bitter inwit
    To cite  agenbite is the trite choice.

    November 22, 2014

  • inwit in Beowulf means 'mischief', 'cunning hostility' and 'evil'. What a transition to inwit has to its later meaning. The Beowulfian meaning is more 'outwit' in the current venacular
    It is much like the contrast between 'hostile' and 'hospitable' that come from the same Indo-European root ghos-ti-, stranger.

    November 28, 2011

  • From the Tweets:
    “Dilly is drowning. Agenbite. Save her. Agenbite. She will drown me with her. Salt green death. We. Agenbite of inwit. #Ulysses #Joyce”
    @11ysses

    November 28, 2011

  • Inwit, a term for conscience, suggests the inner senses and interior sensibility, which accords nicely with the current state of the senses under the regime of electric technologies. — Marshall McLuhan, The Agenbite of Outwit, 1998

    November 28, 2011

  • used by Gerard Manley Hopkins along with instress and inscape.

    There is one notable dead tree . . . the inscape markedly holding its most simple and beautiful oneness up from the ground through a graceful swerve below (I think) the spring of the branches up to the tops of the timber. I saw the inscape freshly, as if my mind were still growing, though with a companion the eye and the ear are for the most part shut and instress cannot come. - from Hopkin's Journals

    February 19, 2007

  • See agenbite.

    December 10, 2006