I want to say that something is extremely challenging for both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons - for example, doing research on something happening on Neptune (intrinsic - Neptune is harder to observe) that is also politically charged (extrinsic - the politics get in the way of objectivity but are external to the thing itself).

I can say that, of course - I just did. But what if I wanted to use 'innate' (for its innate in-bornness) rather than 'intrinsic'? What is its antiword, if it exists? Perhaps some Latin way to say 'not inborn'?

Edit: I'm really specifically into reasons here, not skills or behaviours. An acquired vs. innate skill and a learned vs. innate behaviour are all well and good, but I don't think they are as good a fit for reasons.

  • You probably need to try to clarify your question. As far as I can tell, you already used a word for what you mean: external. You might look for synonyms to external, secondary, indirect, tangential, attendant, remote, distal. Feb 7, 2015 at 10:18

3 Answers 3


You can consider adventitious for reasons and ideas that are not innate.

It comes from from Medieval Latin adventitius "coming from abroad, extraneous," a corruption of Latin adventicius "foreign, strange, accidental," from advent- past participle stem of advenire "arrive". [etymonline]

  • coming from another source and not inherent or innate [MW]

  • Coming from outside or from an external source; added or occurring as a result of an external factor or of chance, rather than by design or inherent nature; extraneous, foreign; incidental. [OED]

Differences between innate and adventitious ideas from a philosophical standpoint:

One view on the nature of ideas is that there exist some ideas (called innate ideas) which are so general and abstract that they could not have arisen as a representation of any object of our perception, but rather were in some sense always present. These are distinguished from adventitious ideas which are images or concepts which are accompanied by the judgment that they are caused or occasioned by an external object.

[Audi, Robert, ed. (1995). Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy]

  • I'm giving this answer based on OP's clarification. OP eliminated "acquired" and "learned" and OP already used "external" and "extrinsic" which might not fit.
    – ermanen
    Feb 7, 2015 at 20:43

I would go with acquired, as in an acquired skill.

1. Gained by one's own efforts. TFD

Innate qualities require no effort.

  • I also agree with 'acquired'. Feb 7, 2015 at 5:02

Another word is learned: acquired by experience, study, etc. As in learned behavior.

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