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 Since the program’s debut on Apple TV+ last August, Ted Lasso’s innate goodness has resonated with pandemic-weary audiences. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 July 2021 People have an innate desire to explain evil and misfortune, Barkun said. David M. Zimmer, USA TODAY, 15 July 2021 With compassion comes the acknowledgment that everyone has innate value and deserves to be treated as an equal. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 July 2021 My innate desire to please others was silenced by the thrill of unleashing demonic servants to slay them. Jamie Valentino, Wired, 22 June 2021 None of these new ways of working replaces our innate desire for human connection. Greg Petro, Forbes, 17 June 2021 In part because of our innate desire to make sense of chaos. Time, 17 Apr. 2021 It’s the first day of winter, a season defined by cold nights, gray days and the innate desire to withdraw from the world and hibernate until spring. Steven Lindsey, Dallas News, 21 Dec. 2020 But his innate sense of anticipation and fluidity remain: the ability to get around the ball nimbly enough to slap that inside-out forehand, the ability to glide forward (or backward) and win pretty. New York Times, 2 June 2021

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

5 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Innate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.

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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

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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