inchoate was our Word of the Day on 06/21/2016. Hear the podcast!
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
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
Definition of inchoate for English Language Learners
: not completely formed or developed yet
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 right — Peterson 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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