/i nayt", in"ayt/, adj.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.[1375-1425; late ME < L innatus inborn, ptp. of innasci to be born, arise, equiv. to in- IN-2 + nasci to be born; cf. NASCENT, NATIVITY]Syn. 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.
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