from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Being in a beginning or early stage; incipient.
  • adjective Imperfectly formed or developed; disordered or incoherent.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To begin.
  • Recently or just begun; incipient; in a state of incipiency; hence, elementary; rudimentary; not completely formed or established: as, inchoate rights.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To begin.
  • adjective Recently, or just, begun; beginning; partially but not fully in existence or operation; existing in its elements; incomplete.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Recently started but not fully formed yet; just begun; only elementary or immature.
  • adjective Chaotic, disordered, confused; also, incoherent, rambling.
  • noun rare A beginning, an immature start.
  • verb To begin or start something.
  • verb To cause or bring about.
  • verb To make a start.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective only partly in existence; imperfectly formed


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin inchoātus, past participle of inchoāre, to begin, alteration of incohāre : in-, in; see in– + cohum, strap from yoke to harness.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin incohātus ("begun, unfinished"), perfect passive participle of incohō ("begin").


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  • So much potential, so little clarity.

    December 6, 2006

  • Pronouncing this word terrifies me.

    April 13, 2007

  • "in-koh-it"

    April 13, 2007

  • I say in-ko-ate. It's a funny word to me because I went to Choate, which is pronounced pretty much the way it's spelled (chote).

    May 21, 2007

  • I say "in-ko-ate" too. Arby, I always want to pronounce "Choate" as "ko-ate." Go figure.

    November 8, 2007

  • I know it's wrong, but it always looks like IN-cho-ate to my eye. Why didn't the queen consult me when she fashyned her English? Hmph!

    November 8, 2007

  • I first encountered this word in a review of the Neil Young album 'Landing On Water'. Overall it was not complimentary.

    March 10, 2009

  • I had a professor call one of my papers 'inchoate' once. Fortunately it was only a conference over a draft.

    October 4, 2009

  • Good article in the Times magazine today on this word:

    January 5, 2010

  • pronounced KOH-it or KOH-ate


    1. In an initial or early stage; incipient.

    2. Imperfectly formed or developed: a vague, inchoate idea.

    March 14, 2011

  • there alone near the back. I could see several loose sheets of dark, shiny paper scattered over the table in front of her. She herself was leaning over in concentration, forehead very low, arms up on the surface, scrawling furious lines over a page with a pencil. Underneath the heavy black lines I could see neat blue handwriting. As I watched, she went on scrubbing the pencil point over

    September 23, 2011

  • the paper, almost in the way we did shading in Art, except her movements were much more angry, as if she didn't mind gouging right through the sheet. Then I realised, in the same instant, that this was the source of the odd noise, and that what I'd taken for dark shiny paper on the table had also, not long before, been pages of neat handwriting.

    September 23, 2011

  • She was so lost in what she was doing, it took a while for her to realise I was there. When she looked up with a start, I could see her face was flushed, but there were no traces of tears. She stared at me, then put down her pencil.

    September 23, 2011

  • "Hello, young lady," she said, then took a deep breath. "What can I do for you?"

    I think I turned away so I didn't have to look at her or at the papers over the desk. I can't remember if I said very much--if I explained about the noise and how I'd worried about it being

    September 23, 2011

  • gas. In any case, there was no proper conversation: she didn't want me there and neither did I. I think I made some apology and went out, half expecting her to call me back. But she didn't, and what I remember now is that I went down the staircase burning with shame and resentment. At that moment I wished more than anything that I hadn't seen what I'd just seen, though if you'd asked me

    September 23, 2011

  • What's your point? If I want to be spammed with flabby narrative I can go read Twilight.

    September 23, 2011

  • e...well?the film is good ,but we can't see it now !

    September 24, 2011

  • Chrissie sighed. "Okay. We're not supposed to visit carers. Absolutely strictly speaking. Certainly not encouraged."

    Rodney chuckled and added: "Definitely not encouraged. Naughty naughty to go and visit him."

    "Very naughty," Chrissie said and made a tutting noise.

    Then Ruth joined in, saying: "Kathy hates to be naughty. So we'd better not go and visit him."

    Tommy was looking at Ruth, clearly puzzled about whose side she'd taken, and I wasn't sure either. It occurred to me she didn't want the expedition side-tracked and was reluctantly siding with me, so I smiled at her, but she didn't return my look. Then Tommy asked suddenly: "Whereabouts was it you saw Ruth's possible, Rodney?"

    September 24, 2011

  • "Oh..." Rodney didn't seem nearly so interested in the possible now we were in the town, and I could see anxiety cross Ruth's face. Finally Rodney said: "It was a turning off the High Street, somewhere up the other end. Of course, it might be her day off." Then when no one said anything, he added: "They do have days off, you know. They're not always at their work."

    For a moment, as he said this, the fear passed through me that we'd misjudged things badly; that for all we knew, veterans often used talk of possibles just as a pretext to go on trips, and didn't really expect to take it any further. Ruth might well have been thinking along the same lines, because she was now looking definitely worried, but in the end she did a little laugh, like Rodney had made a joke.

    September 24, 2011

  • Then Chrissie said in a new voice: "You know, Ruth, we might be coming here in a few years' time to visit you. Working in a nice office. I don't see how anyone could stop us visiting you then."

    "That's right," Ruth said quickly. "You can all come and see me."

    "I suppose," Rodney said, "there aren't any rules about visiting people if they're working in an office." He laughed suddenly. "We don't know. It hasn't really happened with us before."

    "It'll be all right," Ruth said. "They let you do it. You can all come and visit me. Except Tommy, that is."

    September 24, 2011

  • Tommy looked shocked. "Why can't I come?"

    "Because you'll already be with me, stupid," Ruth said. "I'm keeping you."

    We all laughed, Tommy again a little behind the rest of us.

    "I heard about this girl up in Wales," Chrissie said. "She was Hailsham, maybe a few years before you lot. Apparently she's working in this clothes shop right now. A really smart one."

    There were murmurs of approval and for a while we all looked dreamily out at the clouds.

    "That's Hailsham for you," Rodney said eventually, and shook his head as though in amazement.

    September 24, 2011

  • wtf?

    September 24, 2011

  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Do I win? Will you please stop now? Or is this some sort of Bizarro-World book review in which the entire text of a work must appear under the single word that best describes it?

    September 24, 2011

  • android 2.2 phones

    “Stop looking at him,” the girl said anxiously, lifting her head from her arm tomake sure Jessica obeyed the order.

     Jessica giggled, but did as she was asked.

     The girl did not look away from her table for the rest of the hour. I thought—though, of course, I could not be sure—that this was deliberate. It seemed like shewanted to look at me. Her body would shift slightly in my direction, her chin wouldbegin to turn, and then she would catch herself, take a deep breath, and stare fixedly atwhoever was speaking.

      I ignored the other thoughts around the girl for the most part, as they were not,momentarily, about her. Mike Newton was planning a snow fight in the parking lot afterschool, not seeming to realize that the snow had already shifted to rain. The flutter ofsoft flakes against the roof had become the more common patter of raindrops. Could hereally not hear the change? It seemed loud to me.

    September 26, 2011

  • android 2.2 phonesWhen the lunch period ended, I stayed in my seat. The humans filed out, and Icaught myself trying to distinguish the sound of her footsteps from the sound of the rest,as if there was something important or unusual about them. How stupid.

      My family made no move to leave, either. They waited to see what I would do.

        Would I go to class, sit beside the girl where I could smell the absurdly potentscent of her blood and feel the warmth of her pulse in the air on my skin? Was I strongenough for that? Or had I had enough for one day?

      “I…think it’s okay,” Alice said, hesitant. “Your mind is set. I think you’ll makeit through the hour.”

      But Alice knew well how quickly a mind could change.

      “Why push it, Edward?” Jasper asked. Though he didn’t want to feel smug that Iwas the one who was weak now, I could hear that he did, just a little. “Go home. Take itslow.”

      “What’s the big deal?” Emmett disagreed. “Either he will or he won’t kill her.

      Might as well get it over with, either way.”

    September 26, 2011

  • SPAM

    September 26, 2011

  • It took everything to stay afloat in the mysterious sea of the classroom, everything not to sink into my own inchoate self.

    Maureen Noelle McLane, "The Secret History of Rock-n-Roll"

    November 23, 2011