in·​born ˈin-ˈbȯrn How to pronounce inborn (audio)
: present from or as if from birth
Choose the Right Synonym for inborn

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 inborn in a Sentence

She has an inborn talent for music. That kind of knowledge is acquired, not inborn.
Recent Examples on the Web According to the research, adults that engaged in an extensive training regime exhibited behavioral and physiological markers for grapheme-color synesthesia, challenging the notion that synesthesia is exclusively an inborn trait. Mark Travers, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 Still an inexperienced group player, André does show an inborn knack for instrumental conversation and picks his spots well, running short phrases while toying with syllabic inflections and extending runs without obstructing other players. Jonathan Rowe, SPIN, 7 Dec. 2023 The reactionary right pretends to have a philosophy based on universal, inborn truths that no reasonable person could deny. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 21 Aug. 2023 There’s a certain inborn suspicion of centralized moderation here, with a clear desire to slough off as much as possible to the end users. Katherine Alejandra Cross, WIRED, 20 July 2023 Our inborn yearnings for family connections are fulfilled when we are linked to our ancestors. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 21 June 2023 Some people have power, speed, and good hand-eye coordination, whereas others may have an inborn sense of rhythm or the ability to analyze patterns. Kumar Mehta, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2023 Even today, here in the U.S. Margareta Matache: Essentially, some American police departments openly accept the racist ideology of inborn criminality of Romani people. The Foretold Team, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2023 Bird gut microbiomes might have more to do with their environment than the inborn, consistent relationship that is seen in most mammal species. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 28 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inborn.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of inborn was in 1513

Dictionary Entries Near inborn

Cite this Entry

“Inborn.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​born ˈin-ˈbȯ(ə)rn How to pronounce inborn (audio)
: born in one : not acquired by training or experience : natural, instinctive
an inborn ability to grow flowers
: hereditary sense 1, inherited
an inborn defect in metabolism

Medical Definition


in·​born ˈin-ˈbȯ(ə)rn How to pronounce inborn (audio)
: hereditary, inherited
inborn errors of metabolism

More from Merriam-Webster on inborn

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