Borrowed from Latin innātus (inborn), perfect active participle of innāscor (be born in, grow up in), from in (in, at on) + nāscor (be born); see natal, native.


  • IPA(key): /ɪˈneɪt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪt


innate (not comparable)

  1. Inborn; existing or having existed since birth.
  2. (philosophy) Originating in, or derived from, the constitution of the intellect, as opposed to acquired from experience.
    innate ideas
    • 1691 November 1, Robert South, “An Account of the Nature and Measures of Conscience”, in Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, volume II, Oxford: UP, published 1842, page 29:
      There is an innate light in every man, discovering to him the first lines of duty, in the common notions of good and evil, which, by cultivation and improvement, may be advanced to higher and brighter discoveries.
    • 1690, John Locke, “No innate Principles in the Mind”, in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, book I, page 4:
      It would be ſufficient to convince unprejudiced Readers of the falſeneſs of this Suppoſition, if I ſhould only ſhew (as I hope I ſhall in the following Parts of this Diſcourſe) how Men barely by the Uſe of their natural Faculties, may attain to all the Knowledge that they have, without the help of any innate Impreſſions []
  3. Instinctive; coming from instinct.
    • 1831, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Romance and Reality, volume 3, page 198:
      Perhaps, from an innate desire of justification, sorrow always exaggerates itself.
    • 1848, Charles Dickens, Dombey and Son, Chapter 3
      As if she held the clue to something secret in his breast, of the nature of which he was hardly informed himself. As if she had an innate knowledge of one jarring and discordant string within him, and her very breath could sound it.
  4. (botany) Joined by the base to the very tip of a filament.
    an innate anther

Usage notesEdit

  • Nouns often used with "innate": knowledge, idea, immunity, etc.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See alsoEdit


innate (third-person singular simple present innates, present participle innating, simple past and past participle innated)

  1. (obsolete) To cause to exist; to call into being.
    • 1601, John Marston, “Antonio’s Revenge”, in Tragedies and Comedies Collected into One Volume, London: A.M., published 1633, [Act IIII, scene i]:
      I never ſaw a foole leane : the chub-fac’d fop / Shines ſleek with full cramm’d fat of happineſſe, / VVhilſt ſtudious contemplation ſucks the juice / From wiſards cheekes : who making curious ſearch / For Natures ſecrets, the firſt innating cauſe / Laughs them to ſcorne, as man doth buſy Apes / VVhen they will zany men.
    • 1655, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, “Of the dull and innated matter”, in The Philosophical and Physical Opinions, London: J. Martin and J. Allestrye, page 46:
      [] but the innating matter works not upon the dull matter, as upon a new material, for the innate matter is mixt with the dull part of matter []
    • a. 1661, Thomas Fuller, chapter XIX, in Anglorum Speculum, or The Worthies of England, London: John Wright, Thomas Passinger, and William Thackary, published 1684, page 20:
      Here you may behold how each County is innated with a particular Genius, inclining the Natives thereof to be dextrous, ſome in one profeſſion, ſome in another []






innate f pl

  1. feminine plural of innato





  1. vocative masculine singular of innātus