[ ih-neyt, in-eyt ]
See 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.

  1. 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

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English, from Latin innātus “inborn,” past participle of innāscī “to be born, arise,” equivalent to in- in-2 + nāscī “to be born”; cf. nascent, nativity

synonym study For innate

1. 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.

Other words for innate

Other words from innate

  • in·nate·ly, adverb
  • in·nate·ness, noun
  • un·in·nate, adjective
  • un·in·nate·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with innate

Words Nearby innate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use innate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for innate


/ (ɪˈneɪt, ˈɪneɪt) /

  1. existing in a person or animal from birth; congenital; inborn

  2. being an essential part of the character of a person or thing

  1. instinctive; not learned: innate capacities

  2. botany (of anthers) joined to the filament by the base only

  3. (in rationalist philosophy) (of ideas) present in the mind before any experience and knowable by pure reason

Origin of innate

C15: from Latin, from innascī to be born in, from nascī to be born

Derived forms of innate

  • innately, adverb
  • innateness, noun

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