[ih-neyt, in-eyt]
See more synonyms for innate on
  1. existing in one from birth; inborn; native: innate musical talent.
  2. inherent in the essential character of something: an innate defect in the hypothesis.
  3. originating in or arising from the intellect or the constitution of the mind, rather than learned through experience: an innate knowledge of good and evil.

Origin of innate

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin innātus inborn, past participle of innāscī to be born, arise, equivalent to in- in-2 + nāscī to be born; cf. nascent, nativity
Related formsin·nate·ly, adverbin·nate·ness, nounun·in·nate, adjectiveun·in·nate·ly, adverbun·in·nate·ness, noun
Can be confusedinchoate innate (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for innate

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1. natural, congenital. Innate, inborn, congenital, hereditary describe qualities, characteristics, or possessions acquired before or at the time of birth. Innate, of Latin origin, and inborn, a native English word, share the literal basic sense “existing at the time of birth,” and they are interchangeable in most contexts: innate (or inborn ) stodginess, agility, gracefulness. Congenital refers most often to characteristics acquired during fetal development, especially defects or undesirable conditions: a congenital deformity; congenital blindness. Hereditary describes qualities or things passed on from ancestors, either through the genes or by social or legal means: Hemophilia is a hereditary condition; a hereditary title. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for innate

Contemporary Examples of innate

Historical Examples of innate

  • I suppose he has no innate objection to live occasionally in a city?

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • The mind is formed not by its innate powers, but by its governing desires.

  • And is virtue in your opinion, Prodicus, innate or acquired by instruction?


    An Imitator of Plato

  • One must have seen his innate splendour, one must have known him before—looked at him then.

    Tales of Unrest

    Joseph Conrad

  • Don't fancy that they have any innate pleasure in harsh measures.

    The Fortunes Of Glencore

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for innate


  1. existing in a person or animal from birth; congenital; inborn
  2. being an essential part of the character of a person or thing
  3. instinctive; not learnedinnate capacities
  4. botany (of anthers) joined to the filament by the base only
  5. (in rationalist philosophy) (of ideas) present in the mind before any experience and knowable by pure reason
Derived Formsinnately, adverbinnateness, noun

Word Origin for innate

C15: from Latin, from innascī to be born in, from nascī to be born
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for innate

early 15c., from Late Latin innatus "inborn," past participle of innasci "to be born in, originate in," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + nasci "to be born" (Old Latin gnasci; see genus). Related: Innately.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

innate in Medicine


[ĭ-nāt, ĭnāt′]
  1. Possessed at birth; inborn.
Related formsin•nateness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.