incubate

verb
in·​cu·​bate | \ ˈiŋ-kyə-ˌbāt How to pronounce incubate (audio) , ˈin-\
incubated; incubating

Definition of incubate

transitive verb

1a : to sit on (eggs) so as to hatch by the warmth of the body
b : to maintain (something, such as an embryo or a chemically active system) under conditions favorable for hatching, development, or reaction
2 : to cause or aid the development of incubate an idea

intransitive verb

1 : to sit on eggs
2 : to undergo incubation : develop

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Other Words from incubate

incubative \ ˈiŋ-​kyə-​ˌbā-​tiv How to pronounce incubative (audio) , ˈin-​ \ adjective
incubatory \ ˈiŋ-​kyə-​bə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce incubatory (audio) , -​ˌbā-​tə-​rē , ˈin-​ \ adjective

Synonyms for incubate

Synonyms

brood, hatch, set, sit

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Examples of incubate in a Sentence

The female bird incubates the eggs. Researchers incubated the cells in the laboratory. The cultures must incubate for five more days. The virus will incubate in the body for several days before the patient experiences any symptoms.
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Recent Examples on the Web

These were intimate spaces that may, in fact, have helped incubate her very intimate portraits. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Searching for Myself in Alice Neel’s Radical Portraits," 26 Feb. 2019 Silicon Valley has incubated some of the world’s most successful companies but ask locals where to go for a world-class drink and responses range from blank looks to directions to San Francisco, an hour’s drive north. Patrick Thomas, WSJ, "Five Bars Disrupting Silicon Valley’s Nightlife," 5 Dec. 2018 Since the financial crisis incubated in the credit markets, investors and economists have watched the growth of debt cautiously. Aaron Kuriloff, WSJ, "Taking Stock of the World’s Debt," 27 Dec. 2018 Four years ago, Cai co-founded the HR software startup Fountain, which was incubated in YCombinator. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Italic sells brandless luxury goods from manufactures for Celine, Prada, and Gucci.," 15 Nov. 2018 Melodramatic Purple The trend was already incubating when Lorde stepped onto the red carpet at the 2017 MTV Awards in a light purple confection and gave it a name. Hayley Phelan, New York Times, "Place Your Bets on the New Millennial Pink," 3 July 2018 Most of that is from The Fairness Project, which has spent about $5.5 million to incubate and lead expansion efforts in the four states, as well as in Maine. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Medicaid-Expansion Fights Pit Hospitals, Labor Against Conservative Groups, Tobacco Companies," 20 Oct. 2018 If all goes according to plan and the embryo is achieved, it will be inserted into a southern white rhino, who will incubate the baby. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "Can the Northern White Rhino Come Back from the Edge of Extinction?," 22 Sep. 2018 The team was able to keep these hPGCLCs alive for four months through incubating them in a dish with mouse ovary cells. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Take Major Step Towards Making Babies From Skin Cells," 21 Sep. 2018

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

1641, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for incubate

Latin incubatus, past participle of incubare, from in- + cubare to lie

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Statistics for incubate

Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for incubate

The first known use of incubate was in 1641

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More Definitions for incubate

incubate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of incubate

of a bird : to sit on eggs so that they will be kept warm and will hatch
of an egg : to be kept warm before hatching
technical : to keep (something) in the proper conditions for development

incubate

verb
in·​cu·​bate | \ ˈiŋ-kyə-ˌbāt How to pronounce incubate (audio) \
incubated; incubating

Kids Definition of incubate

1 : to sit upon eggs to hatch them by warmth
2 : to keep under conditions good for hatching or development

incubate

verb
in·​cu·​bate | \ ˈiŋ-kyə-ˌbāt, ˈin- How to pronounce incubate (audio) \
incubated; incubating

Medical Definition of incubate

transitive verb

1 : to maintain (as eggs, embryos of animals, or bacteria) under prescribed and usually controlled conditions favorable for hatching or development especially in an incubator
2 : to maintain (a chemically active system) under controlled conditions for the development of a reaction

intransitive verb

: to undergo incubation the cultures incubated for five days

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More from Merriam-Webster on incubate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with incubate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for incubate

Spanish Central: Translation of incubate

Nglish: Translation of incubate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of incubate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on incubate

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