[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. inch of mercury,
  2. inch plant,
  3. inch-pound,
  4. incher,
  5. inchmeal,
  6. inchoation,
  7. inchoative,
  8. inchon,
  9. inchworm,
  10. incidence

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 formsin·cho·ate·ly, adverbin·cho·ate·ness, noun

Can be confusedinchoate innate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inchoately

  • 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 (ɪnˈkəʊeɪt) (tr)

to begin
Derived Formsinchoately, adverbinchoateness, nouninchoation, nouninchoative (ɪnˈkəʊətɪv), adjective

Word Origin for inchoate

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

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