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See more synonyms for inception on Thesaurus.com
  1. beginning; start; commencement.
  2. British.
    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.
  3. (in science fiction) the act of instilling an idea into someone's mind by entering his or her dreams.
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Origin of inception

1375–1425; late Middle English incepcion < Latin inceptiōn- (stem of inceptiō), equivalent to incept(us) begun (see incept) + -iōn- -ion
Can be confusedconcept conception inception


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged 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.

  • 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.


    Robert Sheckley

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

  • 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


  1. the beginning, as of a project or undertaking
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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

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper