Incipient or inchoate

Incipient means beginning, something in the opening stages of happening. Related terms are incipience, incipiency, incipiently. The word incipient is derived from the Latin word incipientem, which means begin, originate.

Inchoate also means beginning, something in the opening stages of happening. However, inchoate also refers to something not fully formed, something immature or rudimentary. Inchoate is also a legal term that refers to a document or promissory note not yet completed. Related words are inchoately, inchoateness. The word inchoate comes from the Latin inchoatus, which means begin. Remember, incipient and inchoate are interchangeable when used to describe something in the beginning stages. However, only inchoate refers to something in the beginning stages that is rudimentary or immature.


She tries to be philosophical, but then she reads out a letter she wrote to her boys about her incipient dementia. (The Irish Times)

Instead of a world of dysfunctional democracies, violent extremism, eroding institutions, and incipient Sino-American rivalry, they depict a globe where once-disparate civilizations are increasingly connected by shared values and constrained by a rules-based international order. (The Chicago Tribune)

Indian troops had served loyally at home to crush an incipient insurrection in 1942. (The Economist)

Both Trump and Hearst present a puzzle—did they create their followings or were they created by their followers?—that is answered by their chosen slogan: Before either man gave voice to it, what came before them was the inchoate idea of the defensive nationalist crouch, putting a snarling America first. (The Atlantic Magazine)

Winners of the 2016 Whiting Awards, given annually to up-and-coming authors of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama, they were learning how to handle not just the unexpected payouts but also the complicated emotions that money can inspire: ignorance, confusion, shame, panic, the occasional bout of inchoate elation. (The New York Times)

Leave a Comment