Word of The Day for Friday, September 17, 2010


in·cip·i·ent adj


in·cip·i·ent   (ĭn-sĭp'ē-ənt) pronunciation


: beginning to come into being or to become apparent <an incipient solar system> <evidence of incipient racial tension>
in·cip·i·ent·ly adverb


  1. The project is still in its incipient stages.
  2. <I have an incipient dislike and distrust of that guy, and I only met him this morning.>

Usage examples

  • Bernanke told Congress last week that a "relapse in financial conditions would be a significant drag on economic activity and cause the incipient recovery to stall."
    May 13, 2009 -  Ben Bernanke -  Bloomberg

  • In his 1873 book, "Lombard Street," British financial journalist Walter Bagehot described how fear spreads in financial circles: "Incipient panic starts with a 'vague conversation.' People are talked about every day, [and] as a panic grows, this...
    Aug 18, 2007 -  Walter Bagehot -  Washington Post

  • Last week, Brent Scowcroft, Bush Sr.'s national security adviser and until recently a member of Bush Jr.'s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, said, "We may be seeing an incipient civil war at the present time."


Latin incipient-, incipiens, present participle of incipere to begin — more at inception
First Known Use: 1669


Sources: Merriam Webster

Why This Word

It's the first post in a blog in a suprisingly uncrowded field of blogs about words. The blog itself is still becoming. I'm still ironing out the format, figuring out the layout and look. Incipient seemed to capture not just the initiality of the moment but also the ongoing process of becoming. There is, too, I think the implicit notion of promise. An incipient thing isn't just becoming, it's becoming something.  It is moving towards. It is revealing its eventual form and nature. It is beginning to show what it will be. Here's hoping that it was a word well chosen.

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