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adjective con·gen·i·tal \kən-ˈje-nə-təl, kän-\

: existing since birth

: naturally having a specified character

Full Definition of CONGENITAL

a :  existing at or dating from birth <congenital deafness>
b :  constituting an essential characteristic :  inherent <congenital fear of snakes>
c :  acquired during development in the uterus and not through heredity <congenital syphilis>
:  being such by nature <a congenital liar>
con·gen·i·tal·ly \-təl-ē\ adverb

Examples of CONGENITAL

  1. The irregularity in my backbone is probably congenital.
  2. <a congenital liar who couldn't speak the truth if his life depended on it>


Latin congenitus, from com- + genitus, past participle of gignere to bring forth — more at kin
First Known Use: 1796

Synonym Discussion of CONGENITAL

innate, inborn, inbred, congenital, hereditary mean not acquired after birth. innate applies to qualities or characteristics that are part of one's inner essential nature <an innate sense of fair play>. inborn suggests a quality or tendency either actually present at birth or so marked and deep-seated as to seem so <her inborn love of nature>. inbred suggests something either acquired from parents by heredity or so deeply rooted and ingrained as to seem acquired in that way <inbred political loyalties>. congenital and hereditary refer to what is acquired before or at birth, the former to things acquired during fetal development and the latter to things transmitted from one's ancestors <a congenital heart murmur> <eye color is hereditary>.

Other Genetics Terms

chimera, hermaphrodite, plasticity
Medical Dictionary


adjective con·gen·i·tal \kän-ˈjen-ə-təl\

Medical Definition of CONGENITAL

:  existing at or dating from birth <congenital deafness>
:  acquired during development in the uterus and not through heredity <congenital syphilis>—compare acquired 2, familial, hereditary
con·gen·i·tal·ly \-təl-ē\ adverb


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