I've been breaking my head trying to find an opposite term for the phrase/expression "acquired taste". I vaguely know that "acquired taste" refers to something (a taste) that you start liking after you get used to (acquire).

So, what's the term or phrase that one should use to describe a taste that they were born with, or in other words, didn't "acquire", but was rather "inherited" or born with? I'd like to use this in the context of music.

For example, "House music is an acquired taste." I would like to say something such as "But, Trance music is {what should I say here?}."

  • Maybe inherent?
    – TrevorD
    Jun 12, 2016 at 11:40
  • 2
    It should be noted that the term is often used in a sarcastic sense, implying that the speaker doesn't really like the thing but manages to tolerate it.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 12, 2016 at 12:11
  • It depends on what you want to reverse, if it's just the acquired bit then the answer below is good as would inherent. If you want to reverse the whole thing then it would be an acquired dislike.
    – user23614
    Jun 12, 2016 at 14:19
  • opposite of acquire is disperse. Being born with a taste, and acquiring a taste still leads to having it. Surely opposite would mean not having it. Like not having it at birth is more opposite to acquiring it.
    – Piotr Kula
    Jun 12, 2016 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


Innate or congenital would fit (somewhat), but I don't like them much here. Intrinsic might work fairly well, but it's not really opposite "acquired". Congenital is; I just don't really like it for this use. I might go with natural, which has the dubious bonus of being a weak musical pun ("see sharp or be flat!").

That said, I'm not sure that Trance is not also an acquired taste. :-)

Edit: usage examples, as requested:

  • Innate specifically means something one is born with: "She had an innate talent for music."
  • Congenital tends to be used for things perceived as defects or flaws: "He was born with congenital blindness."
  • Intrinsic sets a quality apart from extrinsic (externally supplied), and often appears with the word value or worth, as in this example from the Cambridge Dictionary: "Each human being has intrinsic dignity and worth."
  • Natural can be opposed to artificial, and "acquired taste" has a sense of artificiality: "My affinity for sugary snacks is natural; coffee was an acquired taste."
  • +1 for innate, but please complete your answer by adding definitions or usage examples that tie in with the question.
    – Phil Sweet
    Jun 12, 2016 at 14:39
  • That's a very detailed answer. I think I'll go with innate :) Thank you very much!
    – dsignr
    Jun 12, 2016 at 18:34

Popular, pop, and populist all fit as examples of opposite to "acquired taste", except that "pop music" has grown from "music with popular appeal" to a more rigidly defined genre, and Trance is not pop. Leaving aside the music discussion, consider the definitions.

popular adjective

  1. of or relating to the general public
  2. suitable to the majority: such as
    a: adapted to or indicative of the understanding and taste of the majority
      // a popular history of the war
    b: suited to the means of the majority : INEXPENSIVE
      // sold at popular prices
  3. frequently encountered or widely accepted
      // a popular theory
  4. commonly liked or approved
      // a very popular girl

Source: Merriam-Webster: popular

pop adjective

  1. POPULAR : such as
      // pop music
    a. of or relating to popular music
      // pop singer
    b. of or relating to the popular culture disseminated through the mass media
      // pop psychology
      // pop grammarians
      // pop society

Source: Merriam-Webster: pop

Populist is properly about political appeal, but in common usage, it can be used apolitically, and apply to anything: "appealing to or aimed at ordinary people". Which very much runs opposite to "acquired taste".

  • Thank you for your answer, Patrick.
    – dsignr
    Nov 25, 2021 at 15:20

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