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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.