Innate, inborn, inbred, congenital, hereditary, inherited are comparable but not wholly synonymous terms that refer to qualities which either are or seem to be derived from one’s inheritance or from conditions attending one’s birth or origin.
Innate and inborn are often used without distinction.
But innate (opposed to acquired ) is frequently synonymous with inherent, essential, or constitutional, and then tends to apply to qualities, characters, or elements that are not inherited but belong as part of the nature or essence to something imbued with life. Innate also may apply to elements or qualities (as virtues or defects) which arise out of the very nature or character of a thing that has no life and therefore literally no birth.
On the other hand, inborn, which is frequently synonymous with natural or native, retains more specific reference to what is actually born in one or is so deep-seated as to seem to have been born in one; the term is therefore usually applied to qualities or characters that are peculiar or distinctive, sometimes to the type, often to the individual.
Inbred implies reference to breeding, or to the processes concerned with the generation, nourishment, and rearing of offspring; the term therefore is more readily applied to what is deeply rooted or ingrained as a result of one’s immediate parentage or the circumstances attending one’s earliest education or training than to what is constitutional or merely natural.
Congenital applies chiefly to something which dates from the birth or inception of the individual concerned.
Both hereditary and inherited apply to a result of natural heredity or sometimes of social heredity. In technical biological use congenital and hereditary are clearly distinguishable, for congenital implies presence at birth (as of a disease or an organic defect) from whatever cause and hereditary implies transmission (as of a tendency, a weakness, or a quality) from an ancestor through the chromosomal mechanism and DNA.