AN UNDERDEVELOPED STRAP
Somebody recently requested the word inchoate, and I had to look up the definition of this one: it's an adjective meaning "just begun" or "underdeveloped". In legal terminology, an inchoate crime is preparing to commit another crime. The word is a sixteenth-century borrowing from Latin inchoatus, the past participle of the rare verb inchoare, which meant "to begin" and is an alteration of incohare (it may have been influenced by the word chaos). Incohare was composed of the prefix in-, meaning "in" (from Proto-Indo-European en), and the root cohum, which probably had the very specific definition of "strap attaching a pole to an oxen's yoke", because connecting the cohum was necessary for work to begin. Finally, that's reconstructed to Proto-Indo-European kagyom, meaning "enclosure".
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic. This year, I graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and Linguistics. There, I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society and wrote a thesis on Serbo-Croatian language policy, magna cum laude. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.