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[in-kuhm] /ˈɪn kʌm/
the monetary payment received for goods or services, or from other sources, as rents or investments.
something that comes in as an addition or increase, especially by chance.
Archaic. a coming in.
Origin of income
1250-1300; Middle English: literally, that which has come in, noun use of incomen (past participle of incomen to come in), Old English incuman; see in, come
Related forms
incomeless, adjective
1. interest, salary, wages, annuity, gain, return, earnings.
1. outgo, expenditure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for income
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The chief source of income in Ireland came from the pasture lands on which cattle were bred.

  • "It is very disagreeable when one's income becomes a burden," said Christine gravely.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • They had left me an income of three hundred and fifty dollars a year; and I determined to go to college.

    Friar Tuck Robert Alexander Wason
  • But, as I said before, a disaster happened, and there must then have been a falling off in the income.

  • Meanwhile Rufus had succeeded in making an arrangement which promised to add to his weekly income.

    Rufus and Rose Horatio Alger, Jr
British Dictionary definitions for income


/ˈɪnkʌm; ˈɪnkəm/
the amount of monetary or other returns, either earned or unearned, accruing over a given period of time
receipts; revenue
(rare) an inflow or influx
Word Origin
C13 (in the sense: arrival, entrance): from Old English incumen a coming in
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for income

c.1300, "entrance, arrival," literally "what enters," perhaps a noun use of the late Old English verb incuman "come in," from in (adv.) + cuman "to come" (see come). Meaning "money made through business or labor" (i.e., "that which 'comes in' as a product of work or business") first recorded c.1600. Income tax is from 1799, first introduced in Britain as a war tax, re-introduced 1842; authorized on a national level in U.S. in 1913.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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income in Culture

income definition

The amount of money received during a period of time in exchange for labor or services, from the sale of goods or property, or as a profit from financial investments.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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