in·nate (ĭ-nāt, ĭnāt′)
a. Existing naturally or by heredity rather than being learned through experience: "Chimpanzees show an innate distrust of contact with strangers" (Cindy Engel).
b. Of or produced by the mind rather than learned through experience: an innate knowledge of right and wrong.
2. Possessed as an essential characteristic; inherent: "As the Army and farmers built more and more levees, the Missouri lost an innate capacity to absorb its frequent excesses" (William Least Heat-Moon).
[Middle English innat, from Latin innātus, past participle of innāscī, to be born in : in-, in; see IN-2 + nāscī, to be born; see genə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.