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[in-sep-shuh n] /ɪnˈsɛp ʃən/
beginning; start; commencement.
  1. the act of graduating or earning a university degree, usually a master's or doctor's degree, especially at Cambridge University.
  2. the graduation ceremony; commencement.
(in science fiction) the act of instilling an idea into someone's mind by entering his or her dreams.
Origin of inception
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English incepcion < Latin inceptiōn- (stem of inceptiō), equivalent to incept(us) begun (see incept) + -iōn- -ion
Can be confused
concept, conception, inception.
1. origin, outset, source, root, conception. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for inception
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I have been Chairman of this Company since its inception two-and-thirty years ago.

    Strife (First Series Plays) John Galsworthy
  • These all commemorate, as it were, but the inception of the great discovery.

  • He had been eating, drinking and sleeping watchbird ever since its inception.

    Watchbird Robert Sheckley
  • Why should a novel about the Stock Exchange 'owe its inception' to a Highland lassie?

    The Right Stuff Ian Hay
  • It was this fact that destroyed the effort of the bear at the crisis of its inception.

    Two Boys in Wyoming Edward S. Ellis
British Dictionary definitions for inception


the beginning, as of a project or undertaking
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inception

early 15c., "beginning, starting," from Middle French incepcion and directly from Latin inceptionem (nominative inceptio) "a beginning, undertaking," noun of action from past participle stem of incipere "begin, take in hand," from in- "in, on" (see in- (2)) + cipere comb. form of capere "take, seize" (see capable).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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