in·​her·​ent | \ in-ˈher-ənt also -ˈhir- \

Definition of inherent

: involved in the constitution or essential character of something : belonging by nature or habit : intrinsic risks inherent in the venture

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Other Words from inherent

inherently adverb

Don't Get Stuck on the Meaning of Inherent

Inherent literally refers to something that is "stuck in" something else so firmly that they can't be separated. A plan may have an inherent flaw that will cause it to fail; a person may have inherent virtues that everyone admires. Since the flaw and the virtues can't be removed, the plan may simply have to be thrown out and the person will remain virtuous forever.

Examples of inherent in a Sentence

It is one more proof that our world has lost the kind of exquisite sensibility displayed by John Milton when he came up with his definition of poetry. He first wrote "simple, sensual, and passionate," but he was bothered by the grossness inherent in "sensual," and so he invented the word "sensuous." — Florence King, National Review, 24 Sept. 2007 There were those who trusted the innate goodness of humanity, and those who believed in its inherent crookedness. — Terry Eagleton, Harper's, March 2005 The problem … is inherent and perennial in any democracy, but it has been more severe in ours during the past quarter-century because of the near universal denigration of government, politics and politicians. — Michael Kinsley, Time, 29 Oct. 2001 He has an inherent sense of fair play. an inherent concept of justice
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Recent Examples on the Web

Still, the sadness inherent in the very existence of the Green Books came through. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Green Book builds a feel-good comedy atop an artifact of shameful segregation. Yikes.," 7 Jan. 2019 So Enrique, Mexico has the right to protect their borders, Guatemala has the right to protect their heirs, every country has that inherent right, that sovereign right to control who comes in and know what their intentions are. Fox News, "Ken Starr: Impeachment is hell," 11 Sep. 2018 The study authors do concede that their results may have been affected by selection bias and the difficulties inherent in asking people to recall their own drug use. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "8 of the Best Weed Vaporizers for the Total Beginner," 13 Dec. 2018 In other words, what Dai envisions as a China-Taiwan war could become a China-United States war—with all the inherent dangers of two nuclear powers slugging it out with one another. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A Chinese Military Official Suggests Ramming U.S. Warships in the South China Sea," 10 Dec. 2018 More broadly, Ball Lightning showcases the inherent dangers in developing advanced weapons with experimental science and technology. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "From the author of The Three-Body Problem," 15 Sep. 2018 Border Patrol agents issued a reminder of the dangers inherent in attempts to cross into the U.S. illegally. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Illegal border-crosser breaks both legs after fall from top of wall, Border Patrol says," 9 Aug. 2018 Most people assume the long list of private crashes can be attributed to an inherent danger in the planes' small size. Peter Greenberg, Town & Country, "Unfriendly Skies," 7 Feb. 2014 Keeping on top of recall notices from the FDA, as well as becoming more aware of the inherent risks of eating fresh foods, can help keep everything in perspective, and you from getting sick. Korin Miller, SELF, "The FDA Says Some Romaine Lettuce Is Safe to Eat Despite E. Coli Outbreak," 27 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inherent.' 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 inherent

1581, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inherent

Latin inhaerent-, inhaerens, present participle of inhaerēre — see inhere

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Statistics for inherent

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for inherent

The first known use of inherent was in 1581

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English Language Learners Definition of inherent

: belonging to the basic nature of someone or something


in·​her·​ent | \ in-ˈhir-ənt, -ˈher-\

Kids Definition of inherent

: belonging to or being a part of the nature of a person or thing She has an inherent sense of fairness.

Other Words from inherent

inherently adverb


in·​her·​ent | \ in-ˈhir-ənt, in-ˈher- \

Medical Definition of inherent

: involved in the constitution or essential character of something : belonging by nature the skin's inherent elasticity— Kathleen C. Engles

Other Words from inherent

inherently adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on inherent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inherent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inherent

Spanish Central: Translation of inherent

Nglish: Translation of inherent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inherent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on inherent

What made you want to look up inherent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a complex dispute or argument

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