in·​cu·​bus | \ ˈiŋ-kyə-bəs How to pronounce incubus (audio) , ˈin- \
plural incubi\ ˈiŋ-​kyə-​ˌbī How to pronounce incubus (audio) , -​ˌbē , ˈin-​ \ also incubuses

Definition of incubus

1 : an evil spirit that lies on persons in their sleep especially : one that has sexual intercourse with women while they are sleeping — compare succubus
3 : one that oppresses or burdens like a nightmare

First Known Use of incubus

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for incubus

Middle English, from Late Latin, from Latin incubare

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The first known use of incubus was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Incubus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for incubus


in·​cu·​bus | \ ˈiŋ-kyə-bəs, ˈin- How to pronounce incubus (audio) \
plural incubi\ -​ˌbī How to pronounce incubus (audio) , -​ˌbē How to pronounce incubus (audio) \ also incubuses

Medical Definition of incubus

1 : an evil spirit at one time thought to lie on persons in their sleep especially : one thought to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women — compare succubus
2 : nightmare

More from Merriam-Webster on incubus

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for incubus Encyclopedia article about incubus

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