in·​cep·​tion in-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce inception (audio)
: an act, process, or instance of beginning : commencement
Choose the Right Synonym for inception

origin, source, inception, root mean the point at which something begins its course or existence.

origin applies to the things or persons from which something is ultimately derived and often to the causes operating before the thing itself comes into being.

an investigation into the origin of baseball

source applies more often to the point where something springs into being.

the source of the Nile
the source of recurrent trouble

inception stresses the beginning of something without implying causes.

the business has been a success since its inception

root suggests a first, ultimate, or fundamental source often not easily discerned.

the real root of the violence

Examples of inception in a Sentence

The project has been shrouded in controversy from its inception. Since its inception, the business has expanded to become a national retail chain. We'll assist you at every stage from inception to completion.
Recent Examples on the Web In the four decades since its inception, MusiCares has raised more than $100 million to provide assistance to musicians and other music-industry workers facing financial, medical and personal hardships, including addiction recovery and disaster relief. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Feb. 2024 Gist, who has seen his Capitol Fight District growing rapidly in the eight years since its inception, said pro-level gaming – with serious prize money, corporate sponsorships and rigorous training regimens – is gaining recognition as a legitimate sport. Vincent Moleski, Sacramento Bee, 1 Feb. 2024 As mobility and adventure have been an integral component of the Louis Vuitton brand since its inception, the foundation of our object was exploration. Miami Staff, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Since its inception, the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation has provided some of the program’s most critical support, Robillard said. Judith Prieve, The Mercury News, 28 Jan. 2024 Since its inception, the BBLA has provided over $250,000 in tuition assistance. Diego Ramos Bechara, Variety, 26 Jan. 2024 The Jeremiah Program was founded in 1993, helping more than 4,000 single mothers since its inception. Kimanzi Constable, Parents, 22 Jan. 2024 Since its inception, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has become a staple in popular culture, while using the art of modern dance to unite people from all walks of life. Okla Jones, Essence, 9 Feb. 2024 This year’s tally pushes the total to over $302 million brought in since the philanthropic event’s inception in 2001. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 29 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inception.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English incepcion, from Latin inception-, inceptio, from incipere to begin, from in- + capere to take

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inception was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near inception

Cite this Entry

“Inception.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​cep·​tion in-ˈsep-shən How to pronounce inception (audio)
: an act or instance of beginning

More from Merriam-Webster on inception

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!