incur

play
verb in·cur \in-ˈkər\

Definition of incur

incurred

incurring

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to become liable or subject to :  bring down upon oneself <incur expenses>

Examples of incur in a sentence

  1. Submitting students to the rigors of learning seemed only to incur the wrath of many of them … —Ben Marcus, Time, 8 Jan. 2001

  2. Shakespeare … took plots and characters from wherever he pleased, rarely acknowledging sources, and he saw so little sanctity in his own words that anyone could print them who cared to incur the expense—which did not include royalties to Shakespeare. —Walter Kendrick, New York Times Book Review, 29 Oct. 1989

  3. To be too good-looking is sometimes to incur the dislike, if not the hatred, of the ordinary-looking. —Joseph Epstein, The Middle of My Tether, 1983

  4. What did he do to incur such wrath?

Incur vs. Occur

Incur bears a strong family resemblance to another English verb, occur. If you are confused by their similarities, a glance back at their Latin roots might help you to tell them apart.

Both words have a common root in Latin currere, meaning “to run.” In the case of incur, currere was combined with Latin in “into,” which produced the meaning “to run into.” In English, the one who incurs, or “runs into,” is most often a person and the thing incurred is usually some self-inflicted negative consequence (such as a debt or somebody’s foul temper). The ancestor of occur, by contrast, paired Latin ob “in the way” with currere, producing the basic meaning “to run in the way of,” or “to present itself.” In English, the verb came to apply strictly to events, things, or ideas; something (such as a tornado) that occurs, or “presents itself,” appears or happens; a thought that occurs, or “presents itself” to someone, comes into that person’s mind.

To summarize: a person (or something composed of people, like a company) incurs, or becomes subject to, something negative; something occurs, or happens, or an idea occurs to, or comes into the mind of, someone.

Origin and Etymology of incur

Middle English incurren, from Latin incurrere, literally, to run into, from in- + currere to run — more at car


First Known Use: 15th century


INCUR Defined for English Language Learners

incur

play
verb in·cur \in-ˈkər\

Definition of incur for English Language Learners

  • : to cause yourself to have or experience (something unpleasant or unwanted)


INCUR Defined for Kids

incur

play
verb in·cur \in-ˈkər\

Definition of incur for Students

incurred

incurring

  1. :  to experience as a result of a person's own actions <Because of his behavior he incurred suspicion.>


Law Dictionary

incur

play
transitive verb in·cur \in-ˈkər\

Legal Definition of incur

incurred

incurring

  1. :  to become liable or subject to :  bring down upon oneself <incur obligations> <incur expenses>


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