1. Imposed as an obligation or duty; obligatory: felt it was incumbent on us all to help.
2. Lying, leaning, or resting on something else: incumbent rock strata.
3. Currently holding a specified office: the incumbent mayor.
A person who holds an office or ecclesiastical benefice: The incumbent was reelected to another term.
[Middle English, holder of an office, from Medieval Latin incumbēns, incumbent-, from Latin, present participle of incumbere, to lean upon, apply oneself to : in-, on; see IN-2 + -cumbere, to recline.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.