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 As a result, the oldest kid may very well develop a sense of responsibility and leadership — qualities fostered through the environment rather than inborn traits. Allie Volpe, Vox, 10 June 2024 Resurgence is a real sense in Detroit, a city where resilience is inborn and tougher tests have been endured. Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press, 7 June 2024 Not all animals’ responses to anthropogenic change are inborn, however. Lee Alan Dugatkin, Scientific American, 14 May 2024 Such sweeping ambition is intrinsic, an expression of America’s inborn missionary zeal. Jon Sebastian Shifrin, Baltimore Sun, 26 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for inborn 

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 17 Jul. 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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