inchoate

play
adjective in·cho·ate \in-ˈkō-ət, ˈin-kə-ˌwāt\

Definition of inchoate

  1. :  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>

inchoately

adverb

inchoateness

noun

Examples of inchoate in a sentence

  1. <inchoate feelings of affection for a man whom she had, up till now, thought of as only a friend>

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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


First Known Use: 1534


INCHOATE Defined for English Language Learners

inchoate

play
adjective in·cho·ate \in-ˈkō-ət, ˈin-kə-ˌwāt\

Definition of inchoate for English Language Learners

  • : not completely formed or developed yet


Law Dictionary

inchoate

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adjective in·cho·ate \in-ˈkō-ət, ˈiŋ-kō-ˌāt\

Legal Definition of inchoate

  1. 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 right — Peterson v. Fire & Police Pension Ass'n, 759 P.2d 720 (1988)>

  2. 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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