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[in-kyuh-beyt, ing-] /ˈɪn kyəˌbeɪt, ˈɪŋ-/
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
Related forms
incubative, adjective
unincubated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for incubated
  • The bladder-to-be is then incubated at body temperature until the cells form functioning tissue.
  • Successfully incubated eggs hatch about two months later.
  • At age nine, he was given a vaccine incubated in a duck egg.
  • Here's how they did it: the researchers took some fertilized eggs from a local hatchery and incubated them in a soundproof room.
  • Meanwhile, eggs and nestlings were being removed from nests in the wild and artificially incubated.
  • Still, the cultural and economic environment in which each generation is incubated clearly matters.
  • We incubated three of the batches, enthusiastically but inexpertly.
  • It incubated the industrial and political revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
  • When incubated in the lab with immature bone cells, the printed bone helped support growth of a new network of bone cells.
  • They are packed tightly together and incubated, prompting them to adhere to each other and trade chemical signals.
British Dictionary definitions for incubated


(of birds) to supply (eggs) with heat for their development, esp by sitting on them
to cause (eggs, embryos, bacteria, etc) to develop, esp in an incubator or culture medium
(intransitive) (of eggs, embryos, bacteria, etc) to develop in favourable conditions, esp in an incubator
(intransitive) (of disease germs) to remain inactive in an animal or human before causing disease
to develop or cause to develop gradually; foment or be fomented
Derived Forms
incubation, noun
incubational, adjective
incubative, incubatory, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Latin incubāre to lie upon, hatch, from in-² + cubāre to lie down
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 incubated



1640s, "to brood upon, watch jealously" (which also was a figurative sense of Latin incubare); 1721 as "to sit on eggs to hatch them," from Latin incubatus, past participle of incubare "to lie in or upon" (see incubation). Related: Incubated; incubating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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incubated in Medicine

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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