Definition of inchoate in English:

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Pronunciation: /inˈkōət/
Pronunciation: /ˈinkəˌwāt/


1Just begun and so not fully formed or developed; rudimentary: a still inchoate democracy
More example sentences
  • The ‘information society’ is only explicable in terms of the future, of its ultimate limits rather than its incipient, inchoate beginnings.
  • Moreover, new power structures and established institutions invariably come to replace the old ones, and any initial glow of inchoate democracy can easily be undermined by the rising centers of symbolic power.
  • We saw all the early inchoate gestures of the alternative comedy movement when it was still alternative, and before it had swamped the festival with its commercial machine.
rudimentary, undeveloped, unformed, immature, incipient, embryonic;
beginning, fledgling, developing
1.1 Law (Of an offense, such as incitement or conspiracy) anticipating a further criminal act.
Example sentences
  • Conspiracy is one of the three inchoate offences in English criminal law, to be discussed in Chapter 11 below, but conspiracy may also be charged when the acts agreed upon have actually been committed.
  • This is essentially the key question in deciding on the appropriate basis for the criminal responsibility required for commission of the inchoate offences of incitement, conspiracy and attempt.
  • The essence of conspiracy is inchoate and the criminality is not to be judged merely by reference to those objectives which are actually achieved.


Because inchoate means ‘just begun and so not fully formed or developed,’ a sense of ‘disorder’ may be implied. But to extend the usage of inchoate to mean ‘chaotic, confused, incoherent’ ( he speaks in an inchoate manner) is incorrect, although not uncommon. Perhaps even more common are incorrect pronunciations of inchoate, such as inˈCHōt, which assumes two syllables (rather than three) and a ch sound like that of chair or chosen (rather than a k sound like that of charisma or chorus).



Example sentences
  • Rather, the current strain is wrought of a convergence of forces, complicating manifestations of history, ideology, experience, and ambition that have always swirled around the German-American relationship, however inchoately.
  • ‘Congregation’ has a religious connotation, and indeed many of Ossorio's works in this mode draw, if sometimes inchoately, on religious themes.
  • The most effective poets, it seems to me, understand that their art depends on their access to their original narratives, those life studies that, involuntarily, inchoately, dream their way back to us.


Example sentences
  • The spectre of plurality and difference became a pseudonym for inchoateness and ineffectiveness.
  • But we're not privy to what is going on inside the artist's head, as his ideas evolve from inchoateness to coherence.
  • Likewise, any structured situation, if it is effectively challenged, may lose its wholeness and revert to inchoateness or shift to an alternative structure.


Mid 16th century: from Latin inchoatus, past participle of inchoare, variant of incohare 'begin'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·cho·ate

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