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 ©2016 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.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus