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[in-kyuh-buh s, ing-] /ˈɪn kyə bəs, ˈɪŋ-/
noun, plural incubi
[in-kyuh-bahy, ing-] /ˈɪn kyəˌbaɪ, ˈɪŋ-/ (Show IPA),
an imaginary demon or evil spirit supposed to descend upon sleeping persons, especially one fabled to have sexual intercourse with women during their sleep.
Compare succubus (def 1).
a nightmare.
something that weighs upon or oppresses one like a nightmare.
1175-1225; Middle English < Late Latin: a nightmare induced by such a demon, noun derivative of Latin incubāre to lie upon; see incubate
Can be confused
incubus, succubus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for incubus
  • It is, however, an incubus for some three dozen of the world's poorest countries.
  • It shall be one of my cherished objects to remove this incubus of our prosperity.
  • The steep decline in state capabilities amounts, on its own, to another important element in the incubus of terrorism.
British Dictionary definitions for incubus


noun (pl) -bi (-ˌbaɪ), -buses
a demon believed in folklore to lie upon sleeping persons, esp to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women Compare succubus
something that oppresses, worries, or disturbs greatly, esp a nightmare or obsession
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin, from incubāre to lie upon; see incubate
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 incubus

c.1200, from Late Latin (Augustine), from Latin incubo "nightmare, one who lies down on (the sleeper)," from incubare "to lie upon" (see incubate). Plural is incubi. In the Middle Ages their existence was recognized by law.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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incubus in Medicine

incubus in·cu·bus (ĭn'kyə-bəs, ĭng'-)
n. pl. in·cu·bus·es or in·cu·bi (-bī')

  1. An evil spirit believed to have sexual intercourse with women as they sleep.

  2. A nightmare.

  3. An oppressive or nightmarish burden.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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