Definition of incubate
1a : to sit on (eggs) so as to hatch by the warmth of the bodyb : 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
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.
Recent Examples of incubate from the Web
Her Emerson Collective invests in companies, incubates businesses and operates philanthropic campaigns.
Because pelicans incubate their eggs by essentially standing on them, the eggs would crack under the parents' feet.
Recently, PCH, through its Highway 1 program, has incubated Cue, a smart at-home medical device; Flic, an open-source tactile button for controlling digital apps; and the Drop Smart Scale.
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.
Origin and Etymology of incubate
Latin incubatus, past participle of incubare, from in- + cubare to lie
First Known Use: 1641See Words from the same year
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
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