in·​her·​ent | \ in-ˈher-ənt How to pronounce inherent (audio) also -ˈhir- How to pronounce inherent (audio) \

Essential Meaning of inherent

formal : belonging to the basic nature of someone or something He has an inherent sense of fair play. She believes strongly in the inherent [=fundamental, natural] goodness of all people.

Full Definition of inherent

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

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 Two surged and two slumped, underscoring the risks inherent in going public. oregonlive, 9 Jan. 2022 But defense officials also have a responsibility to protect the drinking water supply — an imperative made more complicated by the inherent risks that underground tanks pose, Goldman said. Alex Horton And Karoun Demirjian, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Dec. 2021 Then there are the risks inherent in the Jazz simply going about the business of being basketball players. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 Dec. 2021 Before a consumer can open an account and start a business relationship with a bank, that financial institution must make efforts to prove the identity, suitability, and inherent risks of that individual in order to reduce fraud and abuse. Jonathan Bush, STAT, 10 Dec. 2021 There’s the underlying assumption that economics has no bounds, that there is an inherent right to absorb as much value from one another that there is to take. Erik Sherman, Forbes, 30 Oct. 2021 But skeptics of the broader climate agenda espoused by the convening powers at U.N.'s COP26 summit see the current moment as a warning to governments about the inherent risks of the current energy transition. Washington Post, 8 Oct. 2021 People also don’t have an inherent right to frequent stores, restaurants, and venues regardless of their behavior. Sarah Todd, Quartz, 5 Aug. 2021 The real question is, should calming presence be an inherent right or an upcharge? Jonah Bayer, Travel + Leisure, 2 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for inherent

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The first known use of inherent was in 1581

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inherent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for inherent


in·​her·​ent | \ in-ˈhir-ənt How to pronounce inherent (audio) , -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 How to pronounce inherent (audio) , in-ˈher- How to pronounce inherent (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on inherent

Nglish: Translation of inherent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inherent for Arabic Speakers


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