Word: inception

Pronunciation: in-SEP-shən

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: the establishment or starting point of an institution or activity

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Sorry, I couldn’t resist. You know you were thinking it too. After all, Mike Zarin’s iconic sound from the Inception trailers has been an Internet meme for years. But today’s post is not about the 2010 blockbuster film; it’s about the title word and what it represents. This one’s been sitting in my vocabulary list for a while, and since it’s the start of a new year, I figured now would be the best time to write about it.

The “inception” of an activity or institution is its beginning or point of origin. The word arose in late Middle English and comes from the Latin noun inceptio, meaning “beginning” or “undertaking”. This noun in turn is derived from the verb incipere, which means “to begin”.

Though I’m sure I must have heard the word “inception” at least a few times before the famous trailers started popping up, I never really thought about what it meant until after I watched the movie. Obviously, it couldn’t literally be the implantation of an idea in a person’s mind through shared dreams; otherwise the word would only ever come up in science fiction. “Inception” is still an appropriate title for this story, however, as it centers on the concept of initiating the growth of an idea that can change a person’s entire life. You’ll likely never use it in such a specific context (especially since it’s clearly been done already), but “inception” is still a good word to remember for whenever your characters embark on a new enterprise. So on that note, let’s celebrate the “inception” of what will hopefully be a year full of promising new endeavors! Cheers, and Happy 2015!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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