inchoate

adjective
in·​cho·​ate | \ in-ˈkō-ət How to pronounce inchoate (audio) , ˈin-kə-ˌwāt \

Definition of inchoate

: being only partly in existence or operation : incipient especially : imperfectly formed or formulated : formless, incoherent misty, inchoate suspicions that all is not well with the nation — J. M. Perry

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Other Words from inchoate

inchoately adverb
inchoateness noun

When Should You Use inchoate?

Inchoate derives from inchoare, which means "to start work on" in Latin but translates literally as "to hitch up." Inchoare was formed from the prefix in- and the noun cohum, which refers to the part of a yoke to which the beam of a plow is fitted. The concept of implementing this initial step toward the larger task of plowing a field can help provide a clearer understanding of inchoate, an adjective used to describe the imperfect form of something (such as a plan or idea) in its early stages of development. Perhaps because it looks a little like the word chaos (although the two aren't closely related), inchoate now not only implies the formlessness that often marks beginnings but also the confusion caused by chaos.

Examples of inchoate in a Sentence

inchoate feelings of affection for a man whom she had, up till now, thought of as only a friend
Recent Examples on the Web And ancient practices can provide powerful inchoate benefits to their practitioners, even when the exact cause and effect may be unclear at the time. New York Times, 17 June 2021 Prepper Camp was a castle built on emotion: fear of the inchoate other was so great that the survivalists felt justified in being prepared to kill other humans to protect their material goods. Krista Stevens, Longreads, 10 Aug. 2020 Prepper Camp was a castle built on emotion: fear of the inchoate other was so great that the survivalists felt justified in being prepared to kill other humans to protect their material goods. Krista Stevens, Longreads, 10 Aug. 2020 Prepper Camp was a castle built on emotion: fear of the inchoate other was so great that the survivalists felt justified in being prepared to kill other humans to protect their material goods. Krista Stevens, Longreads, 10 Aug. 2020 That condition, which is good for both countries, may return — if the inchoate coalition formed to oust Netanyahu can hang together and pass an impending confidence vote in the Knesset. Star Tribune, 4 June 2021 In any event, surveys such as these tend to undervalue the more inchoate factors in a state’s economic growth. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2021 Prepper Camp was a castle built on emotion: fear of the inchoate other was so great that the survivalists felt justified in being prepared to kill other humans to protect their material goods. Krista Stevens, Longreads, 10 Aug. 2020 Prepper Camp was a castle built on emotion: fear of the inchoate other was so great that the survivalists felt justified in being prepared to kill other humans to protect their material goods. Krista Stevens, Longreads, 10 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inchoate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of inchoate

1534, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inchoate

Latin inchoatus, past participle of inchoare to start work on, perhaps from in- + cohum part of a yoke to which the beam of a plow is fitted

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Time Traveler for inchoate

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The first known use of inchoate was in 1534

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Last Updated

21 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inchoate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inchoate. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for inchoate

inchoate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of inchoate

formal : not completely formed or developed yet

inchoate

adjective
in·​cho·​ate | \ in-ˈkō-ət, ˈiŋ-kō-ˌāt How to pronounce inchoate (audio) \

Legal Definition of inchoate

1a : not yet made complete, certain, or specific : not perfected — see also inchoate lien at lien
b : not yet transformed into actual use or possession until an employee has earned his retirement pay…[it] is but an inchoate rightPeterson v. Fire & Police Pension Ass'n, 759 P.2d 720 (1988)
2 : of or relating to a crime (as attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy) which consists of acts that are preliminary to another crime and that are in themselves criminal — compare choate

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