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in·​car·​nate in-ˈkär-nət How to pronounce incarnate (audio) -ˌnāt How to pronounce incarnate (audio)
: invested with bodily and especially human nature and form
: made manifest or comprehensible : embodied
a fiend incarnate
: incarnadine
incarnate clover


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in·​car·​nate in-ˈkär-ˌnāt How to pronounce incarnate (audio)
incarnated; incarnating

transitive verb

: to make incarnate: such as
: to give bodily form and substance to
incarnates the devil as a serpent
: to give a concrete or actual form to : actualize
: to constitute an embodiment or type of
no one culture incarnates every important human valueDenis Goulet

Frequently Asked Questions

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
By merging the surreal and the real, Reisinger hopes to highlight the incarnate nature of the digital medium via its capacity to generate experiences and emotional reactions as substantial as those stirred by physical artworks. Ana María Caballero, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 The Who were full of abandon, rockin’ hard and melodically brilliant; Jimi was musical voodoo and flamboyance incarnate; Cream was a showcase of bluesy virtuosity; but this? Geddy Lee, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2023 The silver band on Sofia’s right hand was confirmation of bias incarnate. Erika Veurink, Vogue, 27 Sep. 2023 Amber Heard plays a doctor tasked with saving a boy who could be the devil incarnate in the new trailer for In the Fire, one of the actress’ first films since her defamation trial with Johnny Depp. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, 20 Sep. 2023 The sweet-natured 10-year-old is a kind of fountain of youth incarnate. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Sep. 2023 Adding more return on the overall investment are the two days leading up to the race, as the experience also includes unfettered entry into the House of Robb at the Wynn, a temporary representation of the magazine incarnate. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 17 Aug. 2023 Much like the Fab Four, the Supers were ubiquitous in pop culture—on late-night talk shows, in gossip columns with their famous partners, plastered on the walls of bedrooms and hair salons globally, the focus of so much youthful longing: fandom incarnate. Sally Singer, Vogue, 11 Aug. 2023 Someone like Strauss really was the American Dream incarnate — putting himself through school, being an assistant to President Hoover. Vulture, 25 July 2023
And that belief is incarnated in Chalamet’s deliriously infectious performance. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 27 Nov. 2023 But Justine, who, unlike Dorothy, is pretty, thin, and popular, incarnates Rand’s notion of the beautiful brute more than Dorothy does. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2023 In his first five night-shift stints as watchman at a disused ’80s amusement park/arcade mall — Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza Place — Mike stares glaze-eyed at security monitors, then drifts into violent 3-D incidents, His circumstance incarnates the hell that Morrissey sings about. Armond White, National Review, 1 Nov. 2023 That said, he is still incarnated by the ineluctably photogenic Fassbender, so his cheekbones alone could be used as deadly weapons. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 What does land, however, is the film’s depiction of a clash between the arts, embodied by the campers and counsellors for whom theatre is a way of life, and commerce, as incarnated by a financial consultant, Caroline Krauss (Patti Harrison), whose firm wants to take over the camp. Dan Stahl, The New Yorker, 14 Sep. 2023 Marilyn Lovell, who, as an object of fascination for the news media, the inspiration for movie and TV characters and a figure in history books, incarnated for many Americans the hardships and glamour of being an astronaut’s wife, died on Aug. 27 in Lake Forest, Ill. Alex Traub, New York Times, 4 Sep. 2023 It is also closely connected to the political cycle, particularly the dichotomy between Fernández de Kirchner’s brand of Peronism and the supposedly market-friendly opposition, incarnated in the figure of Mauricio Macri over the past decade but moving beyond him this electoral cycle. Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes, 17 July 2023 The eloquence of this thought and feeling, incarnated as affect, proves every year to be deathless. Sophie Lewis, Harper's Magazine, 10 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incarnate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


1533, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near incarnate

Cite this Entry

“Incarnate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
in·​car·​nate in-ˈkär-nət How to pronounce incarnate (audio)
: given bodily or actual form
the devil incarnate
a little tornado incarnate


2 of 2 verb
in·​car·​nate in-ˈkär-ˌnāt How to pronounce incarnate (audio)
incarnated; incarnating
: to give bodily or actual form to

More from Merriam-Webster on incarnate

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