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

Examples of incubus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As Tommy’s experiences in the tunnels of France mark a continued incubus for his character, with visions of being pulled into the mud, the sounding of the bell coincides with his own inner peace. Josh St. Clair, Men's Health, 13 June 2022 An incubus is the male variety (and also that band). Angie Jones, Glamour, 17 Mar. 2022

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incubus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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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Time Traveler for incubus

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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 18 Aug. 2022.

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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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