na·​scent | \ˈna-sᵊnt, ˈnā- \

Definition of nascent 

: coming or having recently come into existence a nascent middle class her nascent singing career

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The Origin of Nascent

Nascent comes from "nascens," the present participle of the Latin verb nasci, which means "to be born." It is a relative newcomer to the collection of English words that derive from that Latin verb. In fact, when the word nascent was itself a newborn, in the first quarter of the 17th century, other "nasci" offspring were already respectably mature. "Nation," "native," and "nature" had been around since the 1300s; "innate" and "natal," since the 1400s. More recently, we picked up some French descendants of "nasci": "née" in the 1700s and "Renaissance" in the 1800s. Our newest "nasci" word? It may well be "perinatology," which was first used in the late 1960s to name the specialized branch of medicine concerned with childbirth.

Examples of nascent in a Sentence

In the mid-'60s, Toronto was home to Yorkville, a gathering spot for draft resisters, a petri dish for a nascent coffeehouse and rock scene similar to the one developing in New York's Greenwich Village. — Mike Sager, Rolling Stone, 27 June 1996 It was almost 80 years ago that the Wright brothers from Ohio ventured to Kitty Hawk for the uplift its steady winds offered their nascent passion, airplanes. — Robert R. Yandle, Popular Photography, March 1993 A few centuries late, when the nascent science of geology was gathering evidence for the earth's enormous anitiquity, some advocates of biblical literalism revived this old argument for our entire planet. — Stephen Jay Gould, Granta 16, Summer 1985 The actress is now focusing on her nascent singing career. one of the leading figures in the nascent civil-rights movement
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Recent Examples on the Web

To be that child is to have your story, nascent and unfolding, snatched away. Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A photo, a message: Survivors of sexual abuse reclaim their stories," 19 June 2018 Libya’s supreme leader Moammar Gadaffi agreed to give up its nascent and still in the box uranium enrichment program in exchange for security guarantees. Jon Wolfsthal, The New Republic, "Trump Plays Hard to Get," 24 May 2018 In a telephone interview Monday morning, two days into his nascent campaign, Catelli/Bauer reiterated his theme of bringing the joy back to Baltimore. Chris Kaltenbach,, "Unofficial mayor of Hampden looking to become official mayor of Baltimore," 18 June 2018 In early 2016, Trump’s presidential campaign allegedly directed where and when millions of dollars of charitable funds would go based on the Iowa caucuses, a crucial early primary that can make or break a nascent presidential campaign. Shahien Nasiripour,, "Trump Used His Charity as His Checkbook, New York State Says," 14 June 2018 Professional connections led him to the nascent Obama campaign. George Packer, The New Yorker, "Witnessing the Obama Presidency, from Start to Finish," 5 June 2018 The report, which included testimony from a handful of former Greitens employees, offers a rare view inside the nascent political campaign and paints a picture of Bobak as a key figure in the campaign’s infancy. Jason Hancock, Bryan Lowry And Lindsay Wise, kansascity, "St. Louis attorney has influence over ‘all things Eric Greitens’ | The Kansas City Star," 4 May 2018 There was seemingly no effort inside the nascent campaign to conceal the source of the list. Rebecca Berg, CNN, "Former aide refutes Eric Greitens' claim on donor list in new report," 2 May 2018 First, party support offers critical funding for nascent campaigns. Hans Hassell, Washington Post, "The lesson of the Steny Hoyer controversy: party insiders still matter after all," 1 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nascent.' 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 nascent

circa 1624, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nascent

Latin nascent-, nascens, present participle of nasci to be born — more at nation

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Statistics for nascent

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for nascent

The first known use of nascent was circa 1624

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More Definitions for nascent



English Language Learners Definition of nascent

: beginning to exist : recently formed or developed


na·​scent | \ˈnas-ᵊnt, ˈnās- \

Medical Definition of nascent 

1 : coming or having recently come into existence : beginning to develop nascent polypeptide chains

2 : of, relating to, or being an atom or substance at the moment of its formation usually with the implication of greater reactivity than otherwise nascent hydrogen

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Comments on nascent

What made you want to look up nascent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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