Definition: being only partly in existence or operation; imperfectly formed or formulated

Some really interesting etymology here:

Inchoate derives from inchoare, which means “to start work on” in Latin but translates literally as “to hitch up.” Inchoare was formed from the prefix in- and the noun cohum, which refers to the part of a yoke to which the beam of a plow is fitted. The concept of implementing this initial step toward the larger task of plowing a field can help provide a clearer understanding of inchoate, an adjective used to describe the imperfect form of something (such as a plan or idea) in its early stages of development. Perhaps because it looks a little like the word chaos (although the two aren’t closely related), inchoate now not only implies the formlessness that often marks beginnings but also the confusion caused by chaos.

I too thought it was somehow related to “chaos.”

Why I Looked It Up

Douglas Wilson used it in a blog post:

If there is no God, then we are all just inchoate chemical assemblages and random neuron firings, and all of our moral indignation over this travesty or that outrage are on exactly the same level as what happens when you pour vinegar into baking soda.

This is item #189 in a sequence of 421 items.

You can use your left/right arrow keys to navigate