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incunabulum Line breaks: in¦cu|nabu¦lum
Pronunciation: /ˌɪnkjʊˈnabjʊləm/

Definition of incunabulum in English:

noun (plural incunabula /ɪnˈkjuːnabjʊlə/)

An early printed book, especially one printed before 1501.
Example sentences
  • Books printed before 1501 are called incunabula; the word is derived from Latin for swaddling clothes and used to indicate that these books are the work of a technology still in its infancy.
  • A preliminary exhibition of one hundred incunabula from the collection was held before World War II, in 1937, and another after it in 1957, as well as a preliminary exhibition of masterpieces from it in 1954.
  • A pair of small drawings by Burne-Jones in a sketchbook from about this time depicts similar vessels nestled in stylized seas, surrounded by frames such as those used in illustrated incunabula.


Early 19th century: from Latin incunabula (neuter plural) 'swaddling clothes, cradle', from in- 'into' + cunae 'cradle'.

Words that rhyme with incunabulum

Definition of incunabulum in:
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