AskDefine | Define incubate

Dictionary Definition



1 develop under favorable conditions, such as germs and bacteria
2 sit on (eggs); "Birds brood"; "The female covers the eggs" [syn: brood, hatch, cover]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. To brood, raise, or maintain eggs, organisms, or living tissue through the provision of ideal environmental conditions.
    • 1975: Catherine Marshall, Adventures in Prayer, New York, Ballantine Books, December 1976, page 46 - Part of our problem in praying for our children, he suggested, is the time lage, the necessary slow maturation of our prayers. But that's the way of God's rhythm in nature. For instance, the hen must patiently sit on her eggs to incubate them before the baby chicks hatch.
    • 1985: Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, New York, Vintage International, May 1992, page 3 - The mother dead these fourteen years did incubate in her own bosom the creature who would carry her off.
    • 2004: A. J. Jacobs, The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World New York, Simon & Schuster, 2004, page 50 - The female cichlid fish are called "mouth breeders," which means they incubate eggs in their mouth.
  2. To incubate metaphorically; to ponder an idea slowly and deliberately as if in preparation for hatching it.
    • 1992: Sheila Davis, The Songwriters Idea Book: 40 Strategies to Excite Your Imagination, Help You Design Distinctive Songs, and Keep Your Creative Flow, Cincinnati, Writer's Digest Books, 1992, page 96. - When you've got your theme–let the concept incubate. Walk around with it, sleep on it.


To brood, raise, or maintain eggs, organisms, or living tissue
To incubate metaphorically

Extensive Definition

The word incubation (from the Latin incubare, "to lie upon") may refer to:
incubate in German: Inkubation
incubate in French: Incubation
incubate in Hebrew: אינקובטור
incubate in Dutch: Incubator
incubate in Japanese: インキュベーター
incubate in Serbian: Инкубација
incubate in Serbo-Croatian: Inkubacija
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