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Imperfect; partial; unfinished; begun, but not completed; as in a contract not executed by all the parties.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


adj. or adv. referring to something which has begun but has not been completed, either an activity or some object which is incomplete. It may define a potential crime like a conspiracy which has been started but not perfected or finished, (buying the explosives, but not yet blowing up the bank safe), a right contingent on an event (receiving property if one outlives the grantor of the property), or a decision or idea which has been only partially considered, such as a contract which has not been formalized.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


not complete.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

INCHOATE. That which is not yet completed or finished. Contracts are considered inchoate until they are executed by all the parties who ought to have executed them. For example, a covenant which purports to be tripartite, and is executed by only two of the parties, is incomplete, and no one is bound by it. 2 Halst. 142. Vide Locus paenitentiae.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Inchoateness, ambiguity and conflict between the locales may well be the norm.' (p.
I am not the first to recognize the possibility of complicity's inchoateness; but I am one of the first to take it seriously.
Introducing discussions of race, racism, and Whiteness into a comparison of British colonialism in Ireland and Africa has the potential, however, to introduce moments of incoherence and inchoateness. While it is true that ideas about biological inferiority were used to justify colonialism in both instances, it was equally the case that the two million Irishmen that did not die, but "went on to become policemen and priests in New York" that Bono references, also tended to embrace White supremacy.