adjective na·scent \ˈna-sənt, ˈnā-\

Definition of nascent

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

nascent was our Word of the Day on 03/25/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of nascent in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. The actress is now focusing on her nascent singing career.

  5. one of the leading figures in the nascent civil-rights movement

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of nascent

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

First Known Use: circa 1624

NASCENT Defined for English Language Learners


adjective na·scent \ˈna-sənt, ˈnā-\

Definition of nascent for English Language Learners

  • : beginning to exist : recently formed or developed

Medical Dictionary


play play
adjective na·scent \ˈnas-ənt, ˈnās-\

Medical Definition of nascent

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

  2. 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

Seen and Heard

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