A friend of mine, a professional translator and interpreter, was stymied in her work by a word that some rabbis keep using when quoting Talmud, baraitot, Rambam, even Rav Kook. To her ear (she is a native Hebrew speaker and fluent in German as well as English) it sounds like "okinta" and seems to be used as an interjection. For whatever reason, it hasn't been possible for her to ask the rabbis directly what it means, so I thought I'd ask here if anyone knows.
אוקימתא (from להקים - to put up) is putting a statement in a specific more elaborate way.
In short, when there are two (or more) contradicting sources that bring seemingly opposite opinions, Ukimta is used to limit each statement's application to a specific, non-overlapping situation that eliminates the contradiction. For example, Brochos 45b:
תני חדא העונה אמן אחר ברכותיו הרי זה משובח
ותניא אידך הרי זה מגונה
A similar explanation resolves a difficulty in a related topic. One Baraita taught: One who answers amen after his own blessings, it is praiseworthy. Another Baraita taught: It is reprehensible.
To resolve the contradiction, the Gemmorah limits each statement to specific blessings:
לא קשיא הא בבונה ירושלים הא בשאר ברכות
This is not difficult. This, where the first Baraita says that it is praiseworthy to answer amen after his own blessing, is in the blessing: Who builds Jerusalem; this, where the second Baraita deems it offensive, is in other blessings.
An okimta (not okinta) is used generally to advocacy a sentence, generally a Mishna or a Berayita, which seems false or superfluous.
From the Darke Hatalmud from Rabbi Yitschak Kampenton paragraph 4
There are two kinds of Okimta, the first is to reduce the scope of the sentence (contextualization), despite that it seems to be a general sentence to a specific case, the second to include in the sentence a specific case which is not obviously included, e.g. in way to make this sentence apparently obvious, a novelty because of a part of it, because it includes this case.
Note. Almost always, when the okimta comes to answer the objection that the statement is obvious, the okimta is to add a case, when the objection is that the statement is wrong or contradictory with an other, the okimta is to restrict the sentence to the case.