[ in-si-pit; Latin ing-ki-pit ]
/ ˈɪn sɪ pɪt; Latin ˈɪŋ kɪ pɪt /


the introductory words or opening phrases in the text of a medieval manuscript or an early printed book.
Music. the first words of a chanted liturgical text, as that of a Gregorian chant or certain medieval motets.

Nearby words

  1. incineration,
  2. incinerator,
  3. incipience,
  4. incipiency,
  5. incipient,
  6. incircle,
  7. incisal,
  8. incisal guide angle,
  9. incise,
  10. incised

Origin of incipit

1895–1900; < Latin: (here) begins, 3rd singular present indicative of incipere Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for incipit

British Dictionary definitions for incipit


/ Latin (ˈɪnkɪpɪt) /

here begins: used as an introductory word at the beginning of some medieval manuscripts
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 incipit


opening word of a Latin book or manuscript, Latin, literally "(here) begins," third person singular present indicative of incipere (see incipient).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper