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  1. beginning to exist or appear; in an initial stage: an incipient cold.
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Origin of incipient

1580–90; < Latin incipient- (stem of incipiēns, present participle of incipere to take in hand, begin), equivalent to in- in-2 + -cipi- (combining form of capi- take) + -ent- -ent
Related formsin·cip·i·ent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedincipient insipid insipient

Synonyms for incipient

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for incipiently

basically, formerly, primitively, first, primarily, incipiently

Examples from the Web for incipiently

Historical Examples of incipiently

  • Incipiently the women of his stories lived now, but he was still very young.

    To Tell You the Truth

    Leonard Merrick

  • These barbaric codes of Roman law mark the passage of Roman law into incipiently mediaeval stages.

British Dictionary definitions for incipiently


  1. just starting to be or happen; beginning
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Derived Formsincipience or incipiency, nounincipiently, adverb

Word Origin for incipient

C17: from Latin incipiēns, from incipere to begin, take in hand, from in- ² + capere to take
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 incipiently



1660s, from Latin incipientem (nominative incipiens), present participle of incipere "begin, take up," from in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + -cipere, comb. form of capere "to take" (see capable).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper