The Origin of Intuition

I love the etymology of words, which is just a fancy way of saying I love learning about the origin of words. We speak words, we write words, we read words, and we just accept their dictionary meaning. But, when you take a single word apart it becomes that much richer.

I kick around the word intuition a lot on Silver & Grace. Not only by describing myself as an intuitive mentor, but also passionately spreading the message that all of us need to partner with our intuition far more than we do.

According to, the definition of intuition is direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension. This is certainly how most of us understand intuition, but it is pretty passive. POOF I perceive. POOF I am apprehensive. There doesn’t appear to be any action involved. I just stand around and POOF I am intuitive.

Okay, now let’s look at the etymology of intuition. The ‘in’ part is exactly that, ‘in’. The second half of intuition comes from the Latin ‘tueri’, which means to look at. We have now moved from the passive to the active. Intuition meant looking in. In other words, those Medieval Latin speaking dudes knew you had to look inside to perceive truth, not just stand around waiting for truth to descend upon you.

How many of us, in our noisy and busy lives, take the time to actively look inside for the truth? We read the truth in the newspaper. We listen to the truth on the radio. We let friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, bosses, spiritual advisors tell us the truth. We accept their truths as facts.

But, how many of them are deriving their truths by looking inside themselves? Or, are they taking their truths from friends, family, acquaintances … ? You get the idea.

The next time something comes at you … POOF … as fact, but really doesn’t resonate, take a moment and actively in-tueri. The real truth is found by looking in.

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