9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[in-koh-it, -eyt or, esp. British, in-koh-eyt] /ɪnˈkoʊ ɪt, -eɪt or, esp. British, ˈɪn koʊˌeɪt/
not yet completed or fully developed; rudimentary.
just begun; incipient.
not organized; lacking order:
an inchoate mass of ideas on the subject.
Origin of inchoate
1525-35; < Latin inchoātus, variant of incohātus past participle of incohāre to begin, start work on, perhaps equivalent to in- -in-2 + coh(um) hollow of a yoke into which the pole is fitted + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
inchoately, adverb
inchoateness, noun
Can be confused
inchoate, innate (see synonym study at innate) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inchoate
  • My tentative take is that there's an inchoate quality to their fears that's new.
  • But from this inchoate, messy movement emerged a central demand: an eight-hour workday.
  • Their thinking moves by leaps in the dark, through fruitful errors and inchoate visions.
  • The opposition is inchoate, its leadership unknown, its aims so far vague and various.
  • Given the spontaneous, geographically diverse and inchoate nature of these disturbances, there was never a credible single cause.
  • The liability to contribute is inchoate only when the sacrifice has been made.
  • inchoate means not quite perfectly formed, or a poor copy of something else.
British Dictionary definitions for inchoate


adjective (ɪnˈkəʊeɪt; -ˈkəʊɪt)
just beginning; incipient
undeveloped; immature; rudimentary
(of a legal document, promissory note, etc) in an uncompleted state; not yet made specific or valid
verb (transitive) (ɪnˈkəʊeɪt)
to begin
Derived Forms
inchoately, adverb
inchoateness, noun
inchoation, noun
inchoative (ɪnˈkəʊətɪv) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin incohāre to make a beginning, literally: to hitch up, from in-² + cohum yokestrap
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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Word Origin and History for inchoate

1530s, from Latin inchoatus, past participle of inchoare, alteration of incohare "to begin," originally "to hitch up," from in- "on" (see in- (2)) + cohum "strap fastened to the oxen's yoke." Related: Inchoative.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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