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,, "Naya Rivera's best moments on Glee," 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, "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 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, "Last chance for a summer fling: The 10 best books of August 2020," 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, "Review: A Long Night as Tony Kushner Revisits ‘The Visit’," 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, "When a Sinister Enemy Attacks New York, the City Fights Back," 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, "‘The Burnt Orange Heresy’ Review: Modern Art, Misogyny and Murder," 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,, "Acclaimed Wine Country restaurant Cyrus will reopen in Geyserville after all," 25 Feb. 2020 The many uncertainties surrounding Lisa incarnate the novel’s moral and philosophical ambiguities. Wendy Smith, Washington Post, "A Nazi admiral secretly thwarts his superiors in Jerome Charyn’s ‘Cesare’," 3 Jan. 2020 His bass lines seem to incarnate some principle of human resilience, of slapstick durability. James Parker, The Atlantic, "The Chaotic Elegance of Flea," 30 Oct. 2019 But De Shields, a theater eminence both on and off-Broadway, incarnated in his slick style and bluesy sound the spirit of Mitchell’s bewitching score. Charles Mcnulty,, "Tony Awards: A critic celebrates Broadway's unabashed idealism," 9 June 2019

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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Statistics for incarnate

Last Updated

21 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Incarnate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for incarnate


How to pronounce incarnate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of incarnate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : having a human body


How to pronounce incarnate (audio)

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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