The Origins of “Introvert”

December 13, 2006

I have to begin by stating that I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I have no training or formal education in either of these topics. But I am a life-long introvert. What I hope to be able to do is present ideas here for review and discussion. I want introverts to be able to accept themselves for who they are and not feel that they have to change something fundamental about their personality in order to “fit in.”

I felt I needed some history of the word “introvert.” I was surprised to learn that its use as a noun is relatively modern. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the noun only dates to 1918 and is based on the work of Carl Jung.

I also learned that the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, which I imagine nearly everyone takes at one time in their life (I’ve now done it twice in the last 5 or 6 years) is also based on Jung’s work. There is a great introduction to Carl Jung‘s work at Wikipedia.

Myers Briggs is a huge topic and, as I’ve mentioned, I’m not really qualified to cover it in any depth. You can start with the Myers Briggs Foundation. Probably the most useful section is Trusting MBTI Information on the Web. There is an awful lot of stuff out there; as with anything on the Internet, be careful of your sources. That being said, this site seems to have a relatively good overview and will allow you to get an idea of your type if you’ve never taken the official test.