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[in-sip-ee-uh nt] /ɪnˈsɪp i ənt/
beginning to exist or appear; in an initial stage:
an incipient cold.
Origin of incipient
1580-90; < Latin incipient- (stem of incipiēns, present participle of incipere to take in hand, begin), equivalent to in- in-2 + -cipi- (combining form of capi- take) + -ent- -ent
Related forms
incipiently, adverb
Can be confused
incipient, insipid, insipient.
beginning, nascent, developing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for incipient
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He, too, was found to be suffering from incipient tuberculosis.

  • How ludicrous is the incipient inebriety of a man who wears spectacles!

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • William was straining at his collar and growling like an incipient thunderstorm.

    Jan and Her Job L. Allen Harker
  • His eyes were ringed and bloodshot with fatigue, and with incipient snow-blindness.

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson
  • He had reached the incipient stages of regret of his rash promise.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for incipient


just starting to be or happen; beginning
Derived Forms
incipience, incipiency, noun
incipiently, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin incipiēns, from incipere to begin, take in hand, from in-² + capere to take
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 incipient

1660s, from Latin incipientem (nominative incipiens), present participle of incipere "begin, take up," from in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + -cipere, comb. form of capere "to take" (see capable).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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