in·​ci·​pit ˈin(t)-sə-pət How to pronounce incipit (audio) ˈiŋ-kə-ˌpit How to pronounce incipit (audio)
: the first part : beginning
specifically : the opening words of a text of a medieval manuscript or early printed book

Examples of incipit in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There is an ineluctable emotional stamp on the incipit of just about all of Brahms’ mature chamber works — the opening seconds set an affective tone that can last the entire piece. Lukas Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Aug. 2022

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

Word History


Latin, it begins, from incipere

First Known Use

1897, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of incipit was in 1897

Dictionary Entries Near incipit

Cite this Entry

“Incipit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

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