If a characteristic or ability is already present in a person or animal when they are born, it is innate. People have the innate ability to speak whereas animals do not.

Innate can also be used figuratively for something that comes from the mind rather than from external sources. Do you know someone with an innate sense of style? Some kids seem to have an innate sense of fairness where others seem to be natural bullies. In some contexts, innate means inherent. There is an innate sadness in certain types of ceremonies.

Definitions of innate
  1. adjective
    present at birth but not necessarily hereditary; acquired during fetal development
    synonyms: congenital, inborn
    nonheritable, noninheritable
    not inheritable
  2. adjective
    not established by conditioning or learning
    synonyms: unconditioned, unlearned
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    conditioned, learned
    established by conditioning or learning
  3. adjective
    (of a talent) existing through inherited qualities
    “an innate talent”
    synonyms: born, natural
    having the capacity for thought and reason especially to a high degree
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