in·​nate | \ i-ˈnāt How to pronounce innate (audio) , ˈi-ˌnāt\

Definition of innate

1 : existing in, belonging to, or determined by factors present in an individual from birth : native, inborn innate behavior
2 : belonging to the essential nature of something : inherent
3 : originating in or derived from the mind or the constitution of the intellect rather than from experience

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Other Words from innate

innately adverb
innateness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for innate

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 innate in a Sentence

… the delays innate in both serial and book publication … — Walter Rundell, American Association of University Professors Bulletin, September 1971 … the materials for conflict are innate to social life. — Richard Sennett, Psychology Today, November 1970 The faculty for myth is innate in the human race. — W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919 She has an innate sense of rhythm. the innate problems of wireless communication
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Recent Examples on the Web

Its coolness is innate and not tied to the time Steve McQueen ripped up the streets of San Francisco in a mean green Mustang back in 1968. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Ford Resurrects a Legend With the 2019 Mustang Bullitt," 8 Oct. 2018 There is, for me, an innate temptation to ask why these terrible things happen. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "On the Columbine Shooting's 20th Anniversary, How Do We Make Sense of Senseless Violence?," 20 Apr. 2019 Miller has an innate charisma that's surprising in a teenage boy, tempered with a sweet sincerity, while McCab's cherubic appearance makes him a perfect foil for the twist that comes later., "A Wrinkle In Time," 7 Mar. 2018 Trust your instincts, your natural, innate, amygdala and reptilian-brained instincts, thousands of years old, that respond without thinking to the stress, threat, or danger intrinsically felt by all animals. Polo Tate, Marie Claire, "Sexual Assault in the Military: One Woman's True Story," 8 Aug. 2018 The episode explores the idea of whether hatred is learned or innate, and highlights the stories of remarkable people who have learned to rise above it in one way or another. Mallory Creveling, SELF, "16 Runners Share Their Favorite Podcasts to Listen to on a Run," 29 July 2018 In the way that all actors want to play Hamlet or Willy Loman, critics seem to have an innate desire to hurl themselves against Amis. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "Two Generations on View in Essays by Martin Amis and Zadie Smith," 29 Jan. 2018 But here's the thing, New Orleans' innate good-naturedness prevailed. Doug Maccash,, "Computer crisis delays crawfish feast, inspires faith in humanity," 31 Mar. 2018 Their creativity and innate curiosity is used by designers to constantly test the limits and find new ideas. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "This Construction Headquarters Has The Coolest Rainbow Hardhat Wall," 14 Dec. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for innate

Middle English innat, from Latin innatus, past participle of innasci to be born in, from in- + nasci to be born — more at nation

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Dictionary Entries near innate

in name

in name only






Statistics for innate

Last Updated

13 May 2019

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Time Traveler for innate

The first known use of innate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for innate



English Language Learners Definition of innate

: existing from the time a person or animal is born
: existing as part of the basic nature of something


in·​nate | \ in-ˈāt, ˈin-ˌ How to pronounce innate (audio) \

Medical Definition of innate

: existing in, belonging to, or determined by factors present in an individual from birth : native, inborn innate behavior

Other Words from innate

innately adverb
innateness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on innate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with innate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for innate

Spanish Central: Translation of innate

Nglish: Translation of innate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of innate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on innate

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


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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