in·car·na·tion | \ ˌin-(ˌ)kär-ˈnā-shən \

Definition of incarnation 

1a(1) : the embodiment of a deity or spirit in some earthly form

(2) capitalized : the union of divinity with humanity in Jesus Christ

b : a concrete or actual form of a quality or concept especially : a person showing a trait or typical character to a marked degree she is the incarnation of goodness

2 : the act of incarnating : the state of being incarnate

3 : a particular physical form or state : version in another incarnation he might be a first vice-president —Walter Teller TV and movie incarnations of the story

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Other words from incarnation

incarnational \ˌin-(ˌ)kär-ˈnā-shə-nᵊl, -shnəl \ adjective

Examples of incarnation in a Sentence

the doctrine of the Incarnation she is the very incarnation of grace and tactfulness

Recent Examples on the Web

Denny Laine, who went on to fame with Wings and other groups, played guitar in early incarnations, eventually being replaced by Hayward. Chuck Yarborough,, "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2018: Moody Blues go from struggling musicians to prog-rock pioneers: Inductee profile," 8 Apr. 2018 This Orwellian development is perhaps the most grotesque incarnation of the power politics exercised by the Western conservatives. Jack Holmes, Esquire, "Making Sense of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, and 'Psychological Warfare'," 19 Mar. 2018 For historians, Maurras is the incarnation of France’s homegrown anti-Semitism, a fixture of public discourse throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. James Mcauley, Washington Post, "France backs down on honoring an infamous anti-Semite. Many ask why he was being honored to begin with.," 28 Jan. 2018 Anti-immigration sentiment is increasingly defining the GOP, as abolition defined an earlier incarnation of the party in the 1850s and populism defined the Democrats in the 1890s. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Laura Bush condemns Trump’s family separation policy, but will the GOP listen?," 18 June 2018 Perhaps no show has used food better than Hannibal, which ran on NBC from 2013 to 2015. The show’s center point is the cannibalistic Hannibal Lecter, portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen as a lip-wiping aesthete and an incarnation of Satan himself. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The delectable possibility and bland reality of Sweetbitter," 25 May 2018 The museum’s first incarnation—then called the Nordic Heritage Museum—opened about a mile away in 1980, in a turn-of-the century former school building. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "Exploring a Museum’s Shifting Identity," 7 May 2018 The addition of Anthony, which likely would be on a one-year contract, could potentially serve as a bridge to the team's next incarnation. Ira Winderman,, "Carmelo Anthony as a Heat option grows as a possibility," 10 July 2018 Being large-scale data collectors for advertising purposes has also been the perfect preparation for the firms’ next incarnation as AI companies, says Glen Weyl, an economist at Microsoft Research who also teaches at Yale University. The Economist, "More knock-on than networkThe story of the internet is all about layers," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incarnation.' 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 incarnation

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

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the Incarnation

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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

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English Language Learners Definition of incarnation

: one of a series of lives that a person is believed to have had in the past in some religions

: a person who represents a quality or idea

the Incarnation in the Christian religion : the belief in Jesus Christ as both God and a human being

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Comments on incarnation

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


alleviating pain or harshness

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