Definition of incubate
1a : to sit on (eggs) so as to hatch by the warmth of the bodyb : to maintain (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
1 : to sit on eggs
incubativeplay \ˈiŋ-kyə-ˌbā-tiv, ˈin-\ adjective
incubatoryplay \ˈiŋ-kyə-bə-ˌtȯr-ē, -ˌbā-tə-rē, ˈin-\ adjective
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.
Origin and Etymology of incubate
Latin incubatus, past participle of incubare, from in- + cubare to lie
First Known Use: 1641
INCUBATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of incubate for English Language Learners
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
: to keep (something) in the proper conditions for development
INCUBATE Defined for Kids
Definition of incubate for Students
1 : to sit upon eggs to hatch them by warmth
2 : to keep under conditions good for hatching or development
Medical Definition of incubate
transitive verb: 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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up incubate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).