in·​cum·​ben·​cy in-ˈkəm-bən(t)-sē How to pronounce incumbency (audio)
plural incumbencies
: the sphere of action or period of office of an incumbent
: the quality or state of being incumbent
: something that is incumbent : duty

Examples of incumbency in a Sentence

Hundreds of new jobs were created during her incumbency. the advantages of incumbency during an election a politician seeking to keep his incumbency
Recent Examples on the Web The issues of health care and the economy played big roles in Beshear's re-election — as did the power of incumbency. Alexandra Marquez, NBC News, 17 Nov. 2023 How strong is the power of incumbency? Incumbency remains a major advantage in governors’ races, with both Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Ky., and Gov. Tate Reeves, R-Miss., fending off their challengers. Mark Murray, NBC News, 8 Nov. 2023 Despite benefiting from the power of incumbency, strong name recognition, and high approval ratings, Brown's 2024 race will be the highest-profile fight of his career. Emily Jacobs, Washington Examiner, 17 July 2023 Lee has polled slightly behind Schiff and Porter, so an appointment by Newsom would have given her the benefit of incumbency in her primary race. Emily Jacobs, Washington Examiner, 19 Oct. 2023 Time was, incumbency on the Boston City Council was impenetrable. Globe Columnist,, 13 Sep. 2023 Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who’s been in public office nearly 64 years, faces the first serious threat to his incumbency in decades. Gregg Opelka, WSJ, 6 Nov. 2022 California has a new U.S. senator, and she’s got the power of incumbency behind her. Erika D. Smith, Los Angeles Times, 4 Oct. 2023 Read full article Lara, known as one of the council’s most outspoken progressives, carries the significant advantages of name recognition and incumbency. John Hilliard,, 11 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incumbency.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1608, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of incumbency was circa 1608

Dictionary Entries Near incumbency

Cite this Entry

“Incumbency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​cum·​ben·​cy in-ˈkəm-bən-sē How to pronounce incumbency (audio)
plural incumbencies
: the time during which a person holds an office or position

More from Merriam-Webster on incumbency

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