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

adj present at birth but not necessarily hereditary; acquired during fetal development

congenital, inborn
nonheritable, noninheritable
not inheritable

adj not established by conditioning or learning

unconditioned, unlearned
conditioned, learned
established by conditioning or learning

adj (of a talent) existing through inherited qualities

“an innate talent”
born, natural
having the capacity for thought and reason especially to a high degree

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