in·cum·ben·cy | \in-ˈkəm-bən(t)-sē \
plural incumbencies

Definition of incumbency 

1 : something that is incumbent : duty

2 : the quality or state of being incumbent

3 : the sphere of action or period of office of an incumbent

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Saturday's outcome gives Cloud the advantage of incumbency in that contest. Sean Sullivan,, "Republican wins Texas special election to succeed disgraced GOP congressman," 30 June 2018 Some of Breed’s supporters saw her removal as a coup orchestrated by members of the board’s progressive faction, many of whom were Leno and Kim supporters who blanched at the prospect of allowing Breed to benefit from the power of the incumbency. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, "Breed takes lead over Leno, Kim in earliest returns for SF mayor’s race," 5 June 2018 The strong Democratic recruitment, in effect, tends to cut against the G.O.P.’s incumbency advantage. New York Times, "What to Keep in Mind When Thinking About the Midterms," 26 Apr. 2018 Even if the incumbent president is a candidate, there is no incumbency advantage in third or later term elections. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "History Says Trump Has a Difficult But Traversable Path to Reelection," 19 Apr. 2018 With the advantage of the incumbency this time, that may work to her advantage. Dominic Fracassa,, "London Breed has short term as SF mayor to prove herself for re-election," 11 July 2018 But both Walker and Baldwin enjoy the advantages of incumbency. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A new poll shows how a small group of ticket-splitters could help re-elect both Walker and Baldwin," 25 June 2018 Rodriguez, the county’s veterans service officer, forced Elizondo into the only runoff of his incumbency. Jasper Scherer, San Antonio Express-News, "Elizondo survives close call in Precinct 2 Commissioners Court runoff," 22 May 2018 But the district did vote for a Democrat in the 2008 blue wave, and the GOP just lost the incumbency edge when Garrett retired. Dylan Scott, Vox, "If Democrats want to retake the House, they need to win big in Virginia," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incumbency.' 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 incumbency

circa 1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for incumbency

The first known use of incumbency was circa 1608

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English Language Learners Definition of incumbency

: the time during which a person holds a particular office or position

: the state of holding a particular office or position

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More from Merriam-Webster on incumbency

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for incumbency

Spanish Central: Translation of incumbency

Nglish: Translation of incumbency for Spanish Speakers

Comments on incumbency

What made you want to look up incumbency? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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