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[in-koh-it, -eyt or, esp. British, in-koh-eyt] /ɪnˈkoʊ ɪt, -eɪt or, esp. British, ˈɪn koʊˌeɪt/
not yet completed or fully developed; rudimentary.
just begun; incipient.
not organized; lacking order:
an inchoate mass of ideas on the subject.
Origin of inchoate
1525-35; < Latin inchoātus, variant of incohātus, past participle of incohāre “to begin, start work on,” perhaps equivalent to in- in-2 + coh(um) “hollow of a yoke into which the pole is fitted” + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
inchoately, adverb
inchoateness, noun
Can be confused
inchoate, innate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for inchoately
Historical Examples
  • What is revealed as the ideal in man may be inchoately manifested as instinct in the undeveloped consciousness of the animal.

    Evolution Frank B. Jevons
  • All knowledge was in the non-scientific form, or only fragmentarily and inchoately adjusted.

    Theoretical Ethics

    Milton Valentine
  • Wintour, the free-born gentleman, and Thomas Winter, the inchoately attainted traitor.

British Dictionary definitions for inchoately


adjective (ɪnˈkəʊeɪt; -ˈkəʊɪt)
just beginning; incipient
undeveloped; immature; rudimentary
(of a legal document, promissory note, etc) in an uncompleted state; not yet made specific or valid
verb (transitive) (ɪnˈkəʊeɪt)
to begin
Derived Forms
inchoately, adverb
inchoateness, noun
inchoation, noun
inchoative (ɪnˈkəʊətɪv) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin incohāre to make a beginning, literally: to hitch up, from in-² + cohum yokestrap
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 inchoately



1530s, from Latin inchoatus, past participle of inchoare, alteration of incohare "to begin," originally "to hitch up," from in- "on" (see in- (2)) + cohum "strap fastened to the oxen's yoke." Related: Inchoative.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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