A heart defect that exist when you are born is an example of something that would be described as a congenital heart defect.
- existing as such at birth: a congenital disease
- existing as if inborn; inherent: a congenital cheerfulness
Origin of congenitalfrom Classical Latin congenitus, born together with from com-, together + genitus: see genital
- Of or relating to a condition that is present at birth, as a result of either heredity or environmental influences: a congenital heart defect; congenital syphilis.
- Usage Problem Being or having an essential characteristic as if by nature; inherent or inveterate: “the congenital American optimism that denies conflicts and imagines all stories having happy endings” ( Robert J. Samuelson )
Origin of congenitalFrom Latin congenitus com- com- genitus born past participle of gignere to bear ; see genə- in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: The Usage Panel is divided evenly on the use of congenital to mean “inveterate.” In our 2008 survey, only 50 percent accepted this word in a sentence with the phrase “the most congenital skeptic.”
- (of a trait) Present since birth.