Word of the Day – Inchoate

Word of the Day : September 22, 2021


adjective in-KOH-ut

What It Means

Inchoate means “imperfectly formed or formulated.”

// In the podcast, the author described the process by which she took a series of inchoate vignettes and shaped them into her best-selling novel.

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“Petrifying sights and sounds haunt her nights and inchoate shadows hover around her.” — Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times, 19 Aug. 2021

Did You Know?

Inchoate comes from inchoare, which means “to start work on” in Latin but translates literally as “to hitch up” (inchoare combines the prefix in- with the Latin noun cohum, which refers to the strap that secures a plow beam to a draft animal’s yoke). The concept of this initial step toward the larger task of plowing a field explains how inchoate came to describe something (as a plan or idea) in its early, not fully formed, stages of development.