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

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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 As before, their charity model will still involve incubating new initiatives that are either one-off projects or bigger programs that will eventually become standalone charities. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan "Very Excited" to Start Their Own Charitable Foundation," 20 June 2019 After being incubated, seven of those cells matured and were suitable for fertilization. Washington Post, "Scientists succeed in creating northern white rhino embryos," 12 Sep. 2019 The place is a toxic blend of those intent on incubating ISIS' ideology and those who want to leave their past behind. Arwa Damon And Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "A forgotten camp in Syria could be the birthplace of ISIS' revenge generation," 12 Sep. 2019 Any storm can wash away beaches with incubating sea turtle nests, Bergman said. Tyler Treadway, USA TODAY, "Hurricane Dorian could wash sea turtle nests out to sea amid promising nesting season," 1 Sep. 2019 Restaurant chains like Chipotle and Smashburger, retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods and marketing tech firm SendGrid are among the best known companies that were incubated in the state. Special To The Denver Post, The Denver Post, "Guest commentary: Colorado’s economy is on display, and now it must meet the challenges brought on by success," 30 Aug. 2019 GroGuru has been incubating at EvoNexus since 2016 and has been a longtime favorite of Moore, whose family has roots in farming. Brittany Meiling, San Diego Union-Tribune, "For the love of farms: EvoNexus head joins startup GroGuru’s board — a first for Rory Moore," 2 July 2019 The boy bands of yore were incubated in sterile, controlled corporate environments. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "Brockhampton Grows Up," 2 Sep. 2019 The scientists incubated mouse sperm in a mixture containing molecules that would bind to the receptors and activate them. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Changing sperm speed can influence offspring’s sex, mouse study suggests," 13 Aug. 2019

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

3 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for incubate

The first known use of incubate was in 1641

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More Definitions for incubate

incubate

verb
How to pronounce incubate (audio)

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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