The concept of inertial frame of reference in classical physics and special theory of relativity is analysed. It has been shown that this fundamental concept of physics is not clear enough. A definition of inertial frame of reference is proposed which expresses its key inherent property. The definition is operational and powerful. Many other properties of inertial frames follow from the definition, or it makes them plausible. In particular, the definition shows why physical laws obey space and time symmetries and the principle of relativity, it resolves the problem of clock synchronization and the role of light in it, as well as the problem of the geometry of inertial frames.