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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Humans also have an innate instinct to connect with nature, known as biophilia. Erica Sweeney, Good Housekeeping, 29 July 2022 Playing into his innate charm and innocence, at the time the sketch tweaked Farley's loud, more physically demanding persona. Andy Hoglund,, 20 July 2022 But through taste and charm, and an innate ability to connect with artists, Earl stuck around Atlantic for nearly a decade, his tenure culminating with a stint as president of Rolling Stones Records. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 19 July 2022 The ability to replicate what seems like authentic human speech speaks to an innate aspect of the human experience, inciting empathy automatically. WSJ, 19 July 2022 Setting aside the thermostat narrative’s innate risibility, it withers when brought within ten yards of the facts. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 18 July 2022 Becoming Elizabeth opens by highlighting not the innate power of Elizabeth’s standing as a daughter of the late king, but the unbearable vulnerability. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 June 2022 IFN-β is particularly closely linked to the innate immune response and, crucially, the activation of inflammation. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 Radziwill had already spent two years taking acting lessons by the time Capote decided her innate star power could no longer be wasted at dinner parties or luncheons at La Côte Basque for another moment. Mark Peikert, Town & Country, 28 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Innate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for innate


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

More from Merriam-Webster on innate

Nglish: Translation of innate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of innate for Arabic Speakers


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