in·​car·​nate | \in-ˈkär-nət, -ˌnāt\

Definition of incarnate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : invested with bodily and especially human nature and form

b : made manifest or comprehensible : embodied a fiend incarnate

2 : incarnadine incarnate clover


in·​car·​nate | \in-ˈkär-ˌnāt, ˈin-ˌkär-\
incarnated; incarnating

Definition of incarnate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make incarnate: such as

a : to give bodily form and substance to incarnates the devil as a serpent

b(1) : to give a concrete or actual form to : actualize

(2) : to constitute an embodiment or type of no one culture incarnates every important human value— Denis Goulet

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Examples of incarnate in a Sentence


the general view that Hitler incarnated extreme egotism and indeed evil itself

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Stymied by the opposition of New York City public works czar Robert Moses, O'Malley finally yielded to the siren song of the City of Angels -- instantly becoming the devil incarnate whom many Brooklynites despise to this day. CBS News, "Almanac: The Dodgers leave Brooklyn," 8 Oct. 2017 Fresno State Schedule: vs. Incarnate Word (9/2), at Alabama (9/9), at Washington (9/16), vs. Brigham Young (11/4) Not one but two members of last year’s College Football Playoff field? Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "The 10 FBS teams with toughest non-conference schedules in 2017," 25 Apr. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Brother and sister eventually go on to enjoy crossover success as R&B artists, forging a friendship with Whitney Houston (impressively incarnated here by Liisi LaFontaine, soaring vocals, elegant demeanor and all). Don Aucoin,, "A spirited but flawed ‘Born For This’," 25 June 2018 Sparky was incarnated by Berk Anthony, an illustrator who worked for Disney before joining the Navy. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Rooftop pools? Haunted buildings? 8 Arizona university myths debunked, confirmed," 20 June 2018 Pyta pursues the theme at magisterial length, showing how Hitler debased the Romantic cult of genius to incarnate himself as a transcendent leader hovering above the fray. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "How American Racism Influenced Hitler," 23 Apr. 2018 In particular, the character of Roy Cohn, incarnated by Nathan Lane with insolent glee, seemed to channel the voice of the current political zeitgeist. Charles Mcnulty,, "'Angels in America,' the right play for our fractious times," 26 Mar. 2018 Not that the show's captivating leads, Caissie Levy as Elsa and Patti Murin as Anna, don't charmingly incarnate these beloved animated screen figures. Charles Mcnulty,, "'Frozen' on Broadway: It's no 'Tempest' (or 'Lion King'), but the musical sings with sisterly appeal," 23 Mar. 2018 One show featured Johnny and Carl Perkins jamming with Eric Clapton incarnated as Derek and the Dominos. Randy Blaser,, "Column: Rediscovering the genius of Sammy Davis, Jr.," 20 Dec. 2017 The building incarnated an idea of air travel’s allure that lingered like a contrail in the national imagination. Henry Grabar, Slate Magazine, "How the airport came to embody our national psychosis.," 7 Sep. 2017 The show, however, in the Brooklyn series On Stage at Kingsborough, preserves the tale’s signature farmyard creatures and its wily wolf, incarnated by the large and limber puppets of Glass Half Full Theater. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "Events for Children in NYC This Week," 2 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incarnate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of incarnate


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1533, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for incarnate


Middle English incarnat, from Late Latin incarnatus, past participle of incarnare to incarnate, from Latin in- + carn-, caro flesh — more at carnal

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Time Traveler for incarnate

The first known use of incarnate was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for incarnate



English Language Learners Definition of incarnate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having a human body



English Language Learners Definition of incarnate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to represent (something, such as an idea or quality) in a clear and obvious way

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Comments on incarnate

What made you want to look up incarnate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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