Synonym Chooser

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

Some common synonyms of innate are congenital, hereditary, inborn, and inbred. While all these words 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

How are the words congenital and hereditary related as synonyms of innate?

Both 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 would inborn be a good substitute for innate?

The meanings of inborn and innate largely overlap; however, 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 might inbred be a better fit than innate?

The synonyms inbred and innate are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

Thesaurus Entries Near innate

Cite this Entry

“Innate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/innate. Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on innate

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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