in·cu·bate (ĭnkyə-bāt′, ĭng-)
v. in·cu·bat·ed, in·cu·bat·ing, in·cu·bates
1. To sit on (eggs) to provide heat, so as to promote embryonic development and the hatching of young; brood.
a. To maintain (eggs, organisms, or living tissue) at optimal environmental conditions for growth and development.
b. To maintain (a chemical or biochemical system) under specific conditions in order to promote a particular reaction.
3. To be infected with (a pathogen) before manifesting signs or symptoms of an infectious disease.
4. To form or consider slowly and protectively, as if hatching: incubated the idea for a while, then announced it.
1. To brood eggs.
2. To develop and hatch.
3. To undergo incubation.
[Latin incubāre, incubāt-, to lie down on : in-, on; see IN-2 + cubāre, to lie down.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.