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I heard a woman on the radio this morning talking about an arts project in which she was involved. "This project," she said "was incepted several years ago."

"Incepted?" said I to myself. "Hmmmmm. Gotta think about it." So I did. Thinking that there is no verb to incept I looked it up and I was wrong. To incept means to eat or to take a master's or doctor's degree at university. I'm fairly sure the woman did not mean it in either of those contexts. So, perhaps she meant to say "this project had its inception ( or beginning) several years ago."
Seems to me that inception(n) is not a word that relates to incept (v) in quite the same way that conception relates to concept.
 
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The OED Online offers three definitions of incept, and says the one she was using is obsolete.
quote:
incept
1. trans. To undertake; to begin, commence, enter upon. Obs.
2. intr. To enter formally upon the office of a Master or Doctor in a University, and to be recognized as such by the Faculty; to complete the taking of a degree; = COMMENCE v. 4. (A term retained at Cambridge: now obs. at Oxford.) Hence gen. to enter upon one's career or office.
3. trans. (Biol.) To take in, as an organism or cell.

The first meaning is obsolete. The second meaning is "Historical British." (yourDictionary.com).
The third refers specifically to the ingestion of food through the cell wall by a single-celled organism, as an amoeba. Incept also has a botanical meaning: "a rudimentary organ" (Collins English Dictionary ).
 
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The OED1 gives an archaic (16th century) meaning for the verb to incept 'to undertake; commence, begin'. The Latin verb incipio (incipere, incepi, inceptus) 'to start, begin' (literally, 'to take in'). The final form, the past passive participle, was used in a specialized meaning of theme, subject. Many Latin verbs came into English in their past passive participial form: e.g., aggravate, indicate, participate; verbs based on the cap- root in Latin came in via French ending in -ieve, e.g., conceive, deceive, perceive, receive. I'm not saying that she was being purposely archaizing, because it is possible that she backformed the verb from inception.

[Pipped, mantled, and chop-livered.]


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by zmježd:
........it is possible that she backformed the verb from inception.



Thanks for the insight. You're probably right.
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Should she become pregnant, will she be concepted?
Or perhaps decepted by the nefarious cad who does it to her?
 
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quote:
it is possible that she backformed the verb from inception.
Did you backform that verb from backformation? Wink

If so, did you do so deliberately?

What sort of humor would you call that? Surely there must be a name for it!
 
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Did you backform that verb from backformation?

I might've, but wouldn't that have better been backformated?

If so, did you do so deliberately?

It was deliberate.

What sort of humor would you call that? Surely there must be a name for it!

Noncical levity?


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
The second meaning is "Historical British." (yourDictionary.com).
It must be British because, while I've taught in graduate programs (master's and doctoral) before, I've surely not heard it.
 
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Tinman notes that intransitive incept corresponds to commence. My Canadian Oxford defines commencement as "a ceremony for the conferment of diplomas.(esp. N.Amer.). Is it such in British usage at all?
 
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