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 That, and a great striker’s innate knowledge of where the goal was. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, "IU soccer all-time great, goal-scorer extraordinaire Ken Snow dies at 50," 23 June 2020 Adams has an innate feel of how to attack the weaknesses in the line’s protection and is simply too physical for opposing running backs in pass protection. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: What kind of impact would a do-it-all safety like Jamal Adams have in the Cowboys’ defense?," 22 June 2020 It is composed of the innate and adaptive immune systems. USA Today, "Can vitamin D help with symptoms of COVID-19? Possibly, it's key to helping your immune system function," 9 June 2020 First, stress from racial discrimination alters the innate immunity of a host to promote abnormal inflammatory responses. April Thames, The Conversation, "Coronavirus deaths and those of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery have something in common: Racism," 9 June 2020 Mr Bregman does not believe wickedness is innate, but, on the contrary, that people are naturally inclined to good and helpful behaviour. The Economist, "Hearts of gold Are humans innately good? Rutger Bregman thinks so," 6 June 2020 Amaral had long pondered the possibility of looking at gender imbalance in a field where arguments about innate ability or natural interest, based on longstanding cultural stereotypes, would (or at least should) be irrelevant. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Dearth of women in classic Hollywood was result of studio system, study finds," 30 May 2020 According to the Cambridge University philosopher Stephen Cave, the fear of death is an innate fear of nonexistence. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "Don’t Fear the (Career) Reaper," 4 June 2020 Indeed, the auditory cortex enlists other regions of the brain that control movement, showing an innate connection between movement and our understanding of music. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "Music Synchronizes the Brains of Performers and Their Audience," 2 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for innate

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

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Last Updated

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Innate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for innate


How to pronounce innate (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for innate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with innate

Spanish Central: Translation of innate

Nglish: Translation of innate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of innate for Arabic Speakers

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