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incunabula

[in-kyoo-nab-yuh-luh, ing-] /ˌɪn kyʊˈnæb yə lə, ˌɪŋ-/
plural noun, singular incunabulum
[in-kyoo-nab-yuh-luh m, ing-] /ˌɪn kyʊˈnæb yə ləm, ˌɪŋ-/ (Show IPA)
1.
extant copies of books produced in the earliest stages (before 1501) of printing from movable type.
2.
the earliest stages or first traces of anything.
Origin
1815-1825
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
Related forms
incunabular, adjective
postincunabula, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for incunabulum
  • We are currently in the incunabulum stage of a long-term shift to electronic publication.
British Dictionary definitions for incunabulum

incunabula

/ˌɪnkjʊˈnæbjʊlə/
plural noun (sing) -lum (-ləm)
1.
any book printed before 1501
2.
the infancy or earliest stages of something; beginnings
Derived Forms
incunabular, adjective
Word Origin
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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Word Origin and History for incunabulum
n.

1861, singular of incunabula; taken up (originally in German) as a word for any book printed late 15c., in the "infancy" of the printer's art.

incunabula

n.

"swaddling clothes," also, figuratively, "childhood, beginnings;" 1824, from Latin incunabula (neuter plural), ultimately from cunae "cradle," from PIE *koi-na-, from root *kei- "to lie; bed, couch."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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