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Definition of "incubate" [in•cu•bate]

  • To sit on (eggs) to provide heat, so as to promote embryonic development and the hatching of young; brood. (verb-transitive)
  • To maintain (eggs, organisms, or living tissue) at optimal environmental conditions for growth and development. (verb-transitive)
  • To maintain (a chemical or biochemical system) under specific conditions in order to promote a particular reaction. (verb-transitive)
  • To form or consider slowly and protectively, as if hatching: incubated the idea for a while, then announced it. (verb-transitive)
  • To brood eggs. (verb-intransitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "incubate" in a sentence
  • "He told USA Today, "I've written and created everything I've done, and it takes me a year to reflect on what I've done, a year to let the idea incubate, and a year to create a new character.""
  • "I suppose one could hardly say that they were being incubated, for, according to the dictionaries, to incubate is to sit upon, and certainly there was no one sitting on them."
  • "Wertheimer's idea is to tap the entrepreneurial trading instinct of the Arab people (the Middle East was traditionally one of the great trading crossroads of the world) and "incubate" more than 100 small export businesses in products like plastics, textiles and software."