• Newly formed or just starting to exist


One of the best sounds of spring is the chirping of baby birds. However, if you're ever lucky enough to stumble upon a nest of these nascent fliers, you might be surprised by their appearance. The ragged feathers, squinted eyes, and scrawny necks of newborn birds can seem like quite a contrast to the warm, hopeful peeps issuing from their cradle. Yet, given a little time, these nascent features hold the potential to develop into the colorful feathers, jet-black pupils, and sturdy bodies of those lovely creatures so often associated with the promise of warm weather.

Nascent is an adjective which describes something as brand-spanking new, just started, or recently or in the process of being formed. Things that are nascent have only just popped into existence, or are currently emerging into being; as a result, the word often implies that they are full of as yet unrealized potential. Like newborn lion cubs, first days of school, and chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, they are considered to be not yet fully formed (or grown, or started, or cooled down enough to take a bite without burning your tongue, respectively), but hold the promise of greatness. A perfect word for self-driving cars and the first warm day of March, the use of nascent indicates fresh beginnings and new, inexperienced additions to the world.

Nascent is also frequently applied figuratively to describe things like new ideas, projects and ventures. If you and your buddies decide to take a road trip together, you have nascent vacation plans. If, to pass the time on the long drive to Arizona, you talk about opening a bar together, you could be considered nascent entrepreneurs. And when you strike up a conversation with an attractive stranger you meet in a roadside diner, you've entered into a nascent relationship. In general, nascent is an excellent word to indicate future possibilities.

Example: The nascent Scrabble player tentatively placed his first word on the board.

Example: The author eagerly sketched ideas for her nascent novel.

Example: The scientist was studying how to capture the nascent hydrogen produced during the chemical reaction.


Want to know about the nascence of nascent? Then look back to the Latin verb nasci, which means "to form" or "to be born." Nascent would arise from the present participle of this verb, nascentem, which literally means "being born." This meaning expanded as a result of usage in a variety of contexts to include "being formed or initiated" and "juvenile, not yet fully grown." The nascence of this word in English is attributed to the early 1600s. Nacimiento in Spanish, meaning "birth", is likely a not-so-distant cousin of nascent.

Derivative Words

Nascence: This noun describes the beginning or origin of something.

Example: The nascence of the universe can be traced back to almost 14 billion years ago.

In Literature

From Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius:

We are the bright new stars born of a screaming black hole, the nascent suns burst from the darkness, from the grasping void of space that folds and swallows--a darkness that would devour anyone not as strong as we.

Here, nascent metaphorically references a powerful, newly formed sun, linking the concepts of youth and freshness with those of strength and vitality.


  • Each January, we face the nascent New Year
  • Nascent nature blooms in spring


New, Fresh, Novelty

Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of nascent. Did you use nascent in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.