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  1. beginning; initial.
  2. Grammar. (of a derived verb, or of an aspect in verb inflection) expressing the beginning of the action indicated by the underlying verb, as Latin verbs in -scō, which generally have inceptive force, as calēscō “become or begin to be hot” from caleō “be hot.”
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noun Grammar.
  1. the inceptive aspect.
  2. a verb in this aspect.
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Origin of inceptive

From the Late Latin word inceptīvus, dating back to 1605–15. See incept, -ive
Related formsin·cep·tive·ly, adverbun·in·cep·tive, adjectiveun·in·cep·tive·ly, adverb


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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 inceptive

Historical Examples

  • What is the value of an inceptive axis with relation to the unity of a design?

    Industrial Arts Design

    William H. Varnum

  • Where should the point of concentration be located upon the inceptive axis?

    Industrial Arts Design

    William H. Varnum

  • These usually have Inchoative or Inceptive meaning (see 155, 1).

    New Latin Grammar

    Charles E. Bennett

  • This author looks upon circumcision as of purely climatic origin in its inceptive causes.

  • How should the units be drawn to be in harmony with the inceptive axis, the contours, and to each other?

    Industrial Arts Design

    William H. Varnum

British Dictionary definitions for inceptive


  1. beginning; incipient; initial
  2. Also called: inchoative grammar denoting an aspect of verbs in some languages used to indicate the beginning of an action
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  1. grammar
    1. the inceptive aspect of verbs
    2. a verb in this aspect
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Derived Formsinceptively, adverb
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 inceptive


1650s, from French inceptif (16c.), from Latin incept-, past participle stem of incipere "to begin" (see inception).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper