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 (ĭn′kyə-năb′yə-ləm, ĭng′-)
n. pl. in·cu·nab·u·la (-lə)
1. A book printed before 1501; an incunable.
2. An artifact of an early period.

[New Latin incūnābulum, from sing. of Latin incūnābula, swaddling clothes, cradle : in-, in; see in-2 + cūnābula, cradle, infancy (from cūnae, cradle; see kei- in Indo-European roots).]

in′cu·nab′u·lar (-lər) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


any of the rare, early examples of movabletype editions printed in the last part of the 15th century, as Caxton’s editions of Chaucer and Malory. — incunabula, n. pl.incunabulist, n.incunabular, adj.
See also: Books
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References in periodicals archive ?
Each novel begins with a seemingly impossible event: The Last Book with the medically inexplicable deaths of several patrons of the Papyrus Bookshop; The Grand Manuscript with the disappearance from a closed, locked room of a famous author and her latest manuscript; Compendium of the Dead with the appearance in the thoroughly guarded rare-book room of the National Library of a second copy of a fifteenth-century incunabulum known to be unique.
Among their topics are Aeneas Sylvius Picolomini and Leonardo Bruni's translation of Aristotle's Politics, the Byzantine social elite and the market economy from the 11th to the middle 15th century, Renaissance sources in medieval mirrors for princes: Petrarch and Andreas Pannonius, the quest for certainty in fact and faith: Pierre-Daniel Huet and Josephus' Testimonium Flavianum, the reception of Xenophanes' B34 in heathen and Christian antiquity and its sequel in Byzantine thought, and notes from a nominalist in a new incunabulum by Symphorien Champier.
The sole incunabulum held at UQAM--Pomponius Mela's Cosmographia, printed in 1482--was donated by the Ecole Normale de Jacques-Cartier.
The final contribution is from the co-editor of the collection, Veronica O'Mara, on the vagaries of the nineteenth-century printer and publisher John Gough Nichols's edition of the fifteenth-century Boy Bishop sermon, characterised as 'the first homiletic incunabulum to be edited in "modern" times' (p.
Each folio of the incunabulum contains 10 octaves arranged in 2 columns of 5 octaves apiece.
Moses Marx makes a strong and multi-faceted argument based on the typography and other internal factors that it is indeed an incunabulum. He notes the likeness of the characters with the previous edition and that "this volume is the only one to show again the five woodcut letters for the word JeHUDaH from Solomon's Tur edition in the corresponding place at the beginning of the book.