con·​gen·​i·​tal | \ kən-ˈje-nə-tᵊl How to pronounce congenital (audio) , kän- \

Definition of congenital

1a : existing at or dating from birth congenital deafness … a congenital neuromuscular disease that stiffens joints and weakens muscles.— Lara Cerri … scientists hope to also understand more common malformations that are congenital but not inherited.— Lee Siegel The skin markings are a benign congenital developmental condition and, on palpation, feel no different to normal skin.— Elizabeth Symes
b : constituting an essential characteristic : inherent A congenital taste for Greco-Roman themes, which had once found expression in his own paintings, now took the form of a pronounced weakness for buying up statuettes and medallions depicting gods and heroes of classical times.— Anthony Powell At each roll, the ship favored its congenital list, easing farther and farther toward that soft starboard side …— Robert Stone
c : acquired during development in the uterus and not through heredity Antiparasitic treatment is recommended in acute or congenital infection, in children with chronic infection, and in immunosuppressed patients.— Eric M. Isselbacher et al. PCBs pass through the placenta, cause congenital poisoning, and remain in human tissues for long intervals.Scientific American Medicine Bulletin
2 : being such by nature a congenital liar The truth was that Ward was a congenital name-dropper and snob who—though he was undoubtedly treated unfairly—largely brought his troubles upon himself.— Anthony Howard

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Other Words from congenital

congenitally \ kən-​ˈje-​nə-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce congenital (audio) , kän-​ \ adverb
congenitally deaf Gwynn, who seems congenitally incapable of a frown, didn't mention the matter until I brought it up. — Roger Angell

Synonyms & Antonyms for congenital



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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of congenital in a Sentence

The irregularity in my backbone is probably congenital. a congenital liar who couldn't speak the truth if his life depended on it
Recent Examples on the Web Jillian Sommers, a 17-year-old who was born with congenital heart disease and has a deep love for musical theater, got a special surprise from the Make-a-Wish foundation, Good Morning America shared this week. Giovana Gelhoren,, 23 Apr. 2022 The Esphorsts suffered another tragedy two years after the accident that took Jesse’s life; their son Cody died at 17 of congenital heart disease, Mardirossian said. Libor Janystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Premature infants and infants with chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease have higher hospitalization rates. Anchorage Daily News, 7 Apr. 2022 The charity is named for Hartlage and her husband's daughter, who was born early and with congenital heart disease and other issues, according to its website. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, 18 Mar. 2022 Sometimes, a person’s heart doesn’t develop properly before birth, resulting in a congenital heart defect, according to the CDC. Ashley Abramson, SELF, 13 Apr. 2022 There are a number of possible causes of PAH, ranging from high altitude to congenital heart defects to drug or toxin exposure to connective tissue disorders to infections with HIV or schistosomiasis. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2022 Soto was diagnosed in utero with Noonan syndrome, a disorder that can cause congenital heart defects in addition to preventing normal development in various parts of the body, according to the hospital. Stephanie Wenger,, 11 Mar. 2022 In that post, which was shared more than 6,800 times, the airport also said that this particular type of teddy is given to children who are born with congenital heart defects. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'congenital.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of congenital

1796, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for congenital

Latin congenitus, from com- + genitus, past participle of gignere to bring forth — more at kin

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Time Traveler for congenital

Time Traveler

The first known use of congenital was in 1796

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Dictionary Entries Near congenital



congenital adrenal hyperplasia

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Statistics for congenital

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Congenital.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for congenital


con·​gen·​i·​tal | \ kän-ˈjen-ə-tᵊl How to pronounce congenital (audio) \

Medical Definition of congenital

1 : existing at or dating from birth congenital deafness congenital heart disease
2 : acquired during development in the uterus and not through heredity Our study primarily aimed to find out the birth prevalence of congenital toxoplasma infection in live neonates …— Morten Lebech et al., The Lancet — compare acquired sense 1, familial, hereditary

Other Words from congenital

congenitally \ -​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce congenital (audio) \ adverb
congenitally deaf a congenitally faulty heart valve

More from Merriam-Webster on congenital

Nglish: Translation of congenital for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of congenital for Arabic Speakers


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