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incunabula

[ in-kyoo-nab-yuh-luh, ing- ]
/ ˌɪn kyʊˈnæb yə lə, ˌɪŋ- /
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See synonyms for: incunabula / incunabulum on Thesaurus.com

plural noun, singular in·cu·nab·u·lum [in-kyoo-nab-yuh-luhm, 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.

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Origin of incunabula

First recorded in 1815–25; from Latin: “straps holding a baby in a cradle, earliest home, birthplace,” probably equivalent to unattested *incūnā(re) “to place in a cradle” (in- in-2 + unattested -cūnāre, verbal derivative of cūnae “cradle”) + -bula, plural of -bulum suffix of instrument; def. 1 as translation of German Wiegendrucke
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. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for incunabula

incunabula
/ (ˌɪnkjʊˈnæbjʊlə) /

pl n singular -lum (-ləm)

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