In NetHack, an intrinsic is an ability that your character can acquire by some means. Some players use the term "intrinsic" to mean only abilities that you can gain innately, but as far as the source code goes, any non-hit point, non-status ailment, non-power, non-experience, non-ability score attribute is an intrinsic. This includes wounded legs, swimming, etc. It would seem odd to call these "abilities", but that's how they're treated in the code.

Intrinsics are gained by a variety of means. Several come from eating corpses, others come from doing something stupid (wounded legs comes from kicking walls), and still others are bestowed temporarily by magical items.

The terminology gets a little more confusing when you start talking about gremlins or certain other monsters that can "steal" intrinsics with a succesful hit. In this sense, they only take innate powers -- that is, those that are not dependent upon magical items. Also, the poison resistance you get from building up immunity is considered to be different from that granted by an amulet versus poison by most players, but in the source code there's no difference.

NetHack intrinsics include: