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.