Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An evil spirit supposed to descend upon and have sexual intercourse with women as they sleep.
  • noun A nightmare.
  • noun An oppressive or nightmarish burden.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The nightmare.
  • noun An imaginary being or demon, supposed to be the cause of nightmare; especially, such a being of the male sex who was supposed to consort with women in their sleep.
  • noun Figuratively, a heavy or oppressive burden; especially, a heavy weight on the mind; anything that prevents the free use of the faculties.
  • noun [capitalized] In entomology, a genus of parasitic hymenopters of the family Braconidæ: synonymous with Microgaster of Latreille.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A demon; a fiend; a lascivious spirit, supposed to have sexual intercourse with women by night.
  • noun (Med.) The nightmare. See Nightmare.
  • noun Any oppressive encumbrance or burden; anything that prevents the free use of the faculties.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An evil spirit supposed to oppress people while asleep, especially to have sex with women as they sleep.
  • noun A feeling of oppression during sleep, sleep paralysis; night terrors, a nightmare.
  • noun Any oppressive thing or person; a burden.
  • noun One of various of parasitic insects, especially Aphidiinae

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

  • noun a situation resembling a terrifying dream
  • noun someone who depresses or worries others
  • noun a male demon believed to lie on sleeping persons and to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Late Latin, alteration of Latin incubō, from incubāre, to lie down on; see incubate.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin incubus, from Latin incubo ("nightmare, one who lies down on the sleeper"), from incubāre ("to lie upon, to hatch"), from in- ("on") + cubāre ("to lie").

Examples

Comments

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  • In 1899 Sidney Sime, later to be the Dunsany illustrator, created an understated masterpiece of erotic horror, depicting the incubus in action.

    August 11, 2009