- extant copies of books produced in the earliest stages (before 1501) of printing from movable type.
- the earliest stages or first traces of anything.
Origin of incunabula
Examples from the Web for incunabula
The present number of volumes is about 115,000, of which over 2500 are incunabula.
But it is the books printed before 1474 that form the real Italian incunabula.Fine Books
Alfred W. Pollard
Will you first show Miss Thayer the illuminations and the rarest of the incunabula?The Spell
William Dana Orcutt
It hardly needs be told why so few of the incunabula of the Philippines have survived.Doctrina Christiana
Three of them appeared before the end of the fifteenth century, which places them among the incunabula of printing.Old-Time Makers of Medicine
James J. Walsh
- any book printed before 1501
- the infancy or earliest stages of something; beginnings
Word Origin and History for incunabula
"swaddling clothes," also, figuratively, "childhood, beginnings;" 1824, from Latin incunabula (neuter plural), ultimately from cunae "cradle," from PIE *koi-na-, from root *kei- "to lie; bed, couch."