Synonym Chooser

How is the word congenital different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of congenital are hereditary, inborn, inbred, and innate. While all these words mean "not acquired after birth," 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

When can inborn be used instead of congenital?

While the synonyms inborn and congenital are close in meaning, 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

When could inbred be used to replace congenital?

Although the words inbred and congenital have much in common, 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

When is innate a more appropriate choice than congenital?

The words innate and congenital can be used in similar contexts, but innate applies to qualities or characteristics that are part of one's inner essential nature.

an innate sense of fair play

Thesaurus Entries Near congenital

Cite this Entry

“Congenital.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on congenital

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!