I've considered the use of "in-situ," which may be the best match. In-situ seems to have a shade of meaning connoting an original location, where I am looking for something more along the lines of "Where it was meant to be."

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    Is the object a human creation? Is the environment?
    – lauir
    Jan 15, 2016 at 2:19
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    The object is created by an intelligent being. I wish the word to be independent of whether the environment is natural or artificial. Feb 16, 2016 at 4:51
  • An engineer might talk about "in spec" as opposed to "out of spec" to talk about a component operating within the intended context. Feb 17, 2016 at 3:38

3 Answers 3


"In its natural habitat" maybe?

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    or "in its intended place" ?
    – Graffito
    Jan 14, 2016 at 22:36
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    Please give an example sentence (which you can make up) using the phrase "in its natural habitat." I think this phrase is a good fit to the question, but you need to do more than suggest an answer -- you need to show that your answer is reasonable.
    – ab2
    Jan 15, 2016 at 1:19
  • Upvote because natural applies well. (Not to be confused with original.)
    – lauir
    Feb 17, 2016 at 0:48
  • @Graffito, thank you for intended. I ran with it.
    – lauir
    Feb 17, 2016 at 0:55

If society is the designed environment of a human being, then well-adjusted should fit the bill; for a thing, so should the adjectives fitting or appropriate.

  • Upvote in light of the question as understood by this answer
    – lauir
    Feb 17, 2016 at 0:50

Technically,  in its intended environment  or  in its intended setting:

... [T]he ultimate objective of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase [is] [t]o demonstrate an affordable, supportable, interoperable, and producible system in its intended environment.
– answers.com, as in countless other browser matches for ‘intended-environment’. (Browser matches for ‘intended-setting’ are flooded by references to control panels and, appropriately, jewelry.)

Colloquially (and more concisely),  in its element:

Be in a situation or environment that one particularly likes and in which one can perform well:
She was in her element with doctors and hospitals. – oxforddictionaries.com

A fish out of water is out of its element. – EL&U: What does “You're out of your element” mean?

Latin surely has a perfect and obscure two-word phrase for where intended while, as noted in the question, in situ does not apply because it is taken to mean in the original environment.

Please note a subtle distinction between an original and a natural environment. Glibly put, original refers to origin whereas natural refers more to essential nature. An artificial creation may originate in a factory or laboratory but everything about its purpose, including its intended setting, is natural for it.

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