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[ih-neyt, in-eyt] /ɪˈneɪt, ˈɪn eɪt/
existing in one from birth; inborn; native:
innate musical talent.
inherent in the essential character of something:
an innate defect in the hypothesis.
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
late Middle English
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 forms
innately, adverb
innateness, noun
uninnate, adjective
uninnately, adverb
uninnateness, noun
Can be confused
inchoate, innate (see synonym study at the current entry)
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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for innately
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With all his blemishes and defects he was innately too much a gentleman to descend to this.

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2) Charles James Lever
  • He is innately an adventurer; he seeks adventure and often finds it.

    The Grizzly Enos A. Mills
  • Superficially like S. aeruginosa, but dry and silky, innately squamulose, and brown g.

  • The man who is innately honest has no reason to fear the snares of fortune.

    Laugh and Live Douglas Fairbanks
  • He begins by attempting to prove that Nature is innately and fundamentally wrong and wicked.

  • Rose was innately modest even as to her own self-disclosures.

    The Shoulders of Atlas Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • He had had no sisters, and was innately disposed to worship womankind.

British Dictionary definitions for innately


/ɪˈneɪt; ˈɪneɪt/
existing in a person or animal from birth; congenital; inborn
being an essential part of the character of a person or thing
instinctive; not learned: innate capacities
(botany) (of anthers) joined to the filament by the base only
(in rationalist philosophy) (of ideas) present in the mind before any experience and knowable by pure reason
Derived Forms
innately, adverb
innateness, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for innately



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
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innately in Medicine

innate in·nate (ĭ-nāt', ĭn'āt')
Possessed at birth; inborn.

in·nate'ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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