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1 a : not yet made complete, certain, or specific
: not perfected see also inchoate lien at lien
b : not yet transformed into actual use or possession [until an employee has earned his retirement pay…[it] is but an right "Peterson v. Fire & Police Pension Ass'n, 759 P.2d 720 (1988)"]
2 : of or relating to a crime (as attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy) which consists of acts that are preliminary to another crime and that are in themselves criminal compare choate
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.