[ 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.

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 forms

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

Can be confused

inchoate 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 Forms

inchoately, 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