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A friend of mine just stated:

I'm unimpressed by iOS6, most of the "features" they are introducing have been there since Android's conception.

I was about to correct him, believing inception to be the correct word.

When should one be used over the other?

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I would say that inception is the more relevant concept. Android's conception would be when the idea of the operating system was first conceived, and features being present in someone's idea of an OS doesn't matter worth a damn to anyone; it's features that are actually implemented, as at the first inception of the OS, that matter.

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I am not an English expert, but with a quick look in a dictionary both conception and inception are correct in the mentioned sentence.

I think the use of the word conception will mean:

I'm unimpressed by iOS6, most of the "features" they are introducing have been there since Android's first idea.

and use of the word inception will mean:

I'm unimpressed by iOS6, most of the "features" they are introducing have been there since Android's beginning.

Don't count on my answer unless someone expert approves it. But for me this is how I would understand it.

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Modifying the question a bit; it would seem like each word would have a particular use case. I'm interested in what those use cases are. – NickHeidke Jun 11 '12 at 20:53
+1, but I prefer 'conception' – Elberich Schneider Jun 11 '12 at 21:00
downvoters I don't mind, I just would appreciate it if you tell me my mistake so I learn – user21619 Jun 11 '12 at 21:08
I have apreciated your answer and hence voted up. My preference is nothing. – Elberich Schneider Jun 11 '12 at 21:24

Inception is more about the starting point in time. It is a temporal reference.

Conception is more about the action of creating something. A child or an idea are formed and something is produced.

So one is about the production of something, and the other is about when something is produced.

It depends on the intended semantics of the speaker in this case. Which what they said would be correct to say the idea about the act of creating the feature list for Android was conceived, would be conception.

The temporal reference of when Android was introduced would be the inception.

The two words are definitely linked but not the same semantically in any way.

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Yes, pretty much spot on, I'd agree. Inception doesn't always refer to a specific time, but it certainly does refer to the "beginning" of something... – Noldorin Jun 11 '12 at 21:00

The difference (conception/inception) lies in the Latin suffixes: con = with, unity; in = intra, added, introduced. Conception is the whole, while inception is the addition. There could also be aside a more concise view.

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I think they are quite synonymous; however one deals more with the subject of the matter while inception deals more with the object of the matter. For instance, let's talk about the zygote. A zygote is the fusion of the sperm and egg; it is established but more than this it is a potential child though not an established child yet. The facts that it involves the fusion of two gametes gives the term conception. However that fact that it is an established potential child gives the term inception. Secondly inception is a idea, like a seed or image or design; but an idea carries conception whether it is relevant or not. Think about "one plus one equals two" and "two apples"; the word two or two apples is an inception although we all know that one apple with another apple makes two apples. Third, one can come up with various concepts as scientists do when experimenting on a hypothesis (inception). They come up body of facts (conceptions) to establish this hypothesis into a theory. Fourth, an inception can be used as conception just as a conception can be an inception.

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Conception is a noun. Early 14c., "act of conceiving," from Old French concepcion and while the word can refer to, the act of conceiving, as in giving birth (see conceive). The word also is derived from Latin, conceptionem (nominative conceptio) "a comprehending, conception," noun of action from stem of concipere.

Originally in the womb sense (also with reference to Conception Day in the Church calendar); mental sense "process of forming concepts" is late 14c. Meaning "that which is conceived in the mind" is from 1520s; "general notion" is from 1785.

Inception refers to, early 15c., "beginning, starting," from Middle French incepcion and directly from Latin inceptionem (nominative inceptio) "a beginning, undertaking," noun of action from past participle stem of incipere "begin, take in hand," from in- "in, on" (see in- (2)) + cipere comb. form of capere "take, seize" (see capable).

Source: Various Etymology Dictionaries.

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