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
b : constituting an essential characteristic : inherent congenital fear of snakes
c : acquired during development in the uterus and not through heredity congenital syphilis
2 : being such by nature a congenital liar

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Other Words from congenital

congenitally \ kən-​ˈje-​nə-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce congenitally (audio) , kän-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for congenital



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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 But unlike the more generalised genomic influences on health—those to which everyone is heir, but few know about—people with serious congenital diseases have no escape or respite; their symptoms are inescapable. The Economist, "Congenital diseases reveal a lot about human biology," 12 Mar. 2020 His 31-year-old daughter had been using THC to ease pain related to a congenital disease, Mr. Dillon said. Talal Ansari, WSJ, "Vaping-Related Deaths Fall, But Families Still Look for Answers," 9 Feb. 2020 Before she was born in February, according to Cook Children’s, the baby was diagnosed in utero with a congenital heart disease. Dallas News, "6 things to know about Tinslee Lewis, the Fort Worth infant on life support at Cook Children’s," 4 Jan. 2020 Upwards of 10% of the congenital heart disease patients who receive surgery at Riley are 18 and older. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Patients ages 4 to 38 bond while awaiting heart transplants at Riley Children's Hospital," 25 Dec. 2019 There are roughly 14,000 known genetic diseases in humans, ranging from childhood-onset diseases such as PKU and congenital heart disease to adult-onset conditions such as Huntington’s disease and heritable forms of cancer. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "23 and Baby," 24 Dec. 2019 Paul’s oldest son, Joshua, was born in 2005 with severe complex congenital heart disease. Karie Angell Luc,, "Deerfield Hearts," 18 Nov. 2019 The official cause of death was pneumonia with contributing factors of congenital heart disease and fluid and electrolyte imbalances. Tiffini Theisen,, "Florida mom arrested, accused of neglect after daughter with severe health problems dies," 30 Oct. 2019 Martin had Caudal regression syndrome, a congenital disorder causing abnormal fetal development of the lower spine. Dave Clark,, "Former Dayton Colonel White High School football player Bobby Martin dies in ATV accident," 29 Apr. 2020

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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Statistics for congenital

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Congenital.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for congenital


How to pronounce congenital (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of congenital

: existing since birth
informal : naturally having a specified character


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
2 : acquired during development in the uterus and not through heredity congenital syphilis — compare acquired sense 1, familial, hereditary

Other Words from congenital

congenitally \ -​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce congenitally (audio) \ adverb

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