in·​nate | \ i-ˈnāt How to pronounce innate (audio) , ˈi-ˌnāt \

Essential Meaning of innate

1 : existing from the time a person or animal is born an innate ability/talent She has an innate sense of rhythm.
2 : existing as part of the basic nature of something the innate problems of wireless communication

Full 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 Some of our colleagues are drawn towards specialty stores that have an innate gift for discovering up-and-coming talent—like McMullen curated by Sherri McMullen in Oakland, California. Vogue, 8 Oct. 2021 Most everything has its origin point, even the songwriting of James Taylor, whose innate, purposeful beauty evokes gliding seabirds or swimming fish. Nathan Rizzo | Special To The Oregonian, oregonlive, 7 Oct. 2021 According to Meyer, Costabile’s innate talent made editing Wags easy. Sean T. Collins, Vulture, 1 Oct. 2021 The innate immune system has already taken care of the infection. Sara Reardon, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Sep. 2021 According to researchers, platforms like Instagram can contribute to body image issues and depression because humans have an innate desire to compare themselves to others. Billy Perrigo, Time, 16 Sep. 2021 Part of the philosophy of absurdism is that humans have an innate desire for meaning, which comes into conflict with the fact that there is no deeper meaning in the world, nothing to tell us what to do or how to live. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 12 Sep. 2021 The multi-dimensional Tiffany knot designs are much like New York—a tad rebellious in spirit, but with an innate elegance. Sara Holzman, Marie Claire, 7 Sep. 2021 This would mean that people could have innate gender identities that express themselves in historically and culturally contingent ways. Amia Srinivasan, The New Yorker, 6 Sep. 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

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Innate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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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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