from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To brood, raise, or maintain eggs, organisms, or living tissue through the provision of ideal environmental conditions.
  • v. To incubate metaphorically; to ponder an idea slowly and deliberately as if in preparation for hatching it.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • v. To sit, as on eggs for hatching; to brood; to brood upon, or keep warm, as eggs, for the purpose of hatching.
  • v. To maintain (a living organism, such as microorganisms or a premature baby) under appropriate conditions, such as of temperature, humidity, or atmospheric composition, for growth.
  • v. To develop gradually in some interior environment, until fully formed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To sit upon for the purpose of hatching; hatch out, or produce by hatching: often used figuratively: as, to incubate eggs; to incubate a book or a project.
  • To sit, as on eggs, for the purpose of hatching; brood: as, a bird that incubates for two weeks.
  • In pathology, to go through the stage or process of incubation. See incubation, 2.
  • In bacteriology, to place (a culture) in a thermostat or a similar apparatus for the purpose of obtaining the maximum growth of bacteria by keeping them at a constant optimum temperature.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. sit on (eggs)
  • v. grow under conditions that promote development


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin incubāre, incubāt-, to lie down on : in-, on; see in-2 + cubāre, to lie down.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin incubatus, past participle of incubare ("to hatch"), from Latin in- ("on") and cubare ("to lie").


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  • The city should work to build partnerships with Binghamton University, he said, noting the state and federal governments have given a lot of money to Binghamton University for research, and officials are now working to use this research to "incubate" jobs in the community. -


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