incunabula

[ in-kyoo-nab-yuh-luh, ing- ]
/ ˌɪn kyʊˈnæb yə lə, ˌɪŋ- /

plural noun, singular in·cu·nab·u·lum [in-kyoo-nab-yuh-luh m, ing-] /ˌɪn kyʊˈnæb yə ləm, ˌɪŋ-/.

extant copies of books produced in the earliest stages (before 1501) of printing from movable type.
the earliest stages or first traces of anything.

QUIZZES

Discover The Influence Of Portuguese On English Via This Quiz!
We’ve gathered some interesting words donated to English from Portuguese … as well as some that just don’t translate at all. Do you know what they mean?
Question 1 of 11
Which of the following animal names traces its immediate origin to Portuguese?

Origin of incunabula

1815–25; < Latin: straps holding a baby in a cradle, earliest home, birthplace, probably equivalent to *incūnā(re) to place in a cradle (in- in-2 + *-cūnāre, verbal derivative of cūnae cradle) + -bula, plural of -bulum suffix of instrument; def. 1 as translation of German Wiegendrucke

OTHER WORDS FROM incunabula

in·cu·nab·u·lar, adjectivepost·in·cu·nab·u·la, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for incunabular

incunabula
/ (ˌɪnkjʊˈnæbjʊlə) /

pl n singular -lum (-ləm)

any book printed before 1501
the infancy or earliest stages of something; beginnings

Derived forms of incunabula

incunabular, adjective

Word Origin for incunabula

C19: from Latin, originally: swaddling clothes, hence beginnings, from in- ² + cūnābula cradle
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