[in-kyuh-beyt, ing-]
verb (used with object), incubated, incubating.
to sit upon (eggs) for the purpose of hatching.
to hatch (eggs), as by sitting upon them or by artificial heat.
to maintain at a favorable temperature and in other conditions promoting development, as cultures of bacteria or prematurely born infants.
to develop or produce as if by hatching; give form to: His brain was incubating schemes for raising money.
verb (used without object), incubated, incubating.
to sit upon eggs.
to undergo incubation.
to develop; grow; take form: A plan was slowly incubating in her mind.

1635–45; < Latin incubātus past participle of incubāre to lie or recline on, to sit on (eggs), equivalent to in- in-2 + cub(āre) to sit, lie down + -ātus -ate1; cf. incumbent, concubine

incubative, adjective
unincubated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To incubate
World English Dictionary
incubate (ˈɪnkjʊˌbeɪt)
1.  (of birds) to supply (eggs) with heat for their development, esp by sitting on them
2.  to cause (eggs, embryos, bacteria, etc) to develop, esp in an incubator or culture medium
3.  (intr) (of eggs, embryos, bacteria, etc) to develop in favourable conditions, esp in an incubator
4.  (intr) (of disease germs) to remain inactive in an animal or human before causing disease
5.  to develop or cause to develop gradually; foment or be fomented
[C18: from Latin incubāre to lie upon, hatch, from in-² + cubāre to lie down]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

incubate in·cu·bate (ĭn'kyə-bāt', ĭng'-)
v. in·cu·bat·ed, in·cu·bat·ing, in·cu·bates

  1. To maintain eggs, organisms, or living tissue at optimal environmental conditions for growth and development.

  2. To maintain a chemical or biochemical system under specific conditions in order to promote a particular reaction.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
incubation   (ĭn'kyə-bā'shən)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. The act of warming eggs in order to hatch them, as by a bird sitting upon a clutch of eggs in a nest.

  2. The act of keeping an organism, a cell, or cell culture in conditions favorable for growth and development.

  3. The maintenance of an infant, especially one that is ill or born before the usual gestation period, in an environment of controlled temperature, humidity, and oxygen concentration in order to provide optimal conditions for growth and development.

  4. The development of an infection from the time the pathogen enters the body until signs or symptoms first appear.

incubate verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Parents incubate the eggs for about a month until the eggs hatch.
The hen does not begin to incubate until all the eggs are laid and all the eggs
  hatch within a single day.
They incubate silently for years, slowly eating the brain away and leaving it
  full of holes.
By shivering their muscles, pythons raise their body temperature above ambient
  and use this heat to incubate their eggs.
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