in·​car·​nate | \ in-ˈkär-nət How to pronounce incarnate (audio) , -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 How to pronounce incarnate (audio) , 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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Synonyms & Antonyms for incarnate

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

  • disembody
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Frequently Asked Questions About incarnate

What does carnate mean?

Carnate is synonymous with incarnate, which in simplest terms typically means "having a human body." The word was formed by shortening (removing the prefix of in- from incarnate).

What does incarnate mean in the Bible?

Incarnate means "invested with flesh or bodily nature and form, especially with human nature and form," and is applicable in many different religions in which a god takes on an animal or a human form. In Christianity the word Incarnation (which is usually capitalized) is used in the sense "the union of divinity with humanity in Jesus Christ."

What does 'evil incarnate' mean?

The sense of incarnate at work in the phrase evil incarnate is "made manifest or comprehensible." To describe someone or something as "evil incarnate" is to say that the person or thing is the embodiment of evil.

Examples of incarnate in a Sentence

Verb the general view that Hitler incarnated extreme egotism and indeed evil itself
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The two are joy incarnate on this song with just the right hint of something sultry. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 13 July 2020 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, 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, 25 Apr. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Instead, the scapegoat is demonized, forced to bear and incarnate everyone’s guilt, on top of their own. New York Times, 3 Dec. 2020 As a kid Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man. Clark Collis,, 29 Nov. 2020 The minutiae and microaggressions add up to a terrific little one-act comedy, and maybe that’s the city incarnate: millions of simultaneous, overlapping one-acts fighting for better billing in America’s messiest street festival. Michael Phillips,, 28 Oct. 2020 The former secretary of state under Richard Nixon has inspired a mountain of biographical studies, some treating him as a hero, others as evil incarnate. Monitor Reviewers, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Aug. 2020 Vicki Mortimer’s arresting, bleak black steelscape of set is populated with scores of performers, variously incarnating citizens, schoolchildren and a totally unnecessary fashion parade of a female entourage of Claire. Ben Brantley, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2020 Each of them squares off against the Enemy — incarnated in a white woman of varying age and features, but always dressed in white — with mixed results. New York Times, 24 Mar. 2020 One of the jokes here is that the artist, incarnated as an avuncular soul by Donald Sutherland, has no body of work — at least that anybody’s seen. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, 5 Mar. 2020 This month, in a startling turn of events, chef Douglas Keane signed a 30-year lease for a modern glass and concrete building in Geyserville that will be incarnated into his new 36-seat vision for Cyrus. Carolyn Jung,, 25 Feb. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Incarnate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for incarnate



English Language Learners Definition of incarnate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : having a human body



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

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


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