AskDefine | Define incubation

Dictionary Definition



1 maintaining something at the most favorable temperature for its development
2 (pathology) the phase in the development of an infection between the time a pathogen enters the body and the time the first symptoms appear
3 sitting on eggs so as to hatch them by the warmth of the body [syn: brooding]

User Contributed Dictionary



From incubationem, from incubare.



  1. Sitting on eggs for the purpose of hatching young; a brooding on, or keeping warm, to develop the life within, by any process.
  2. The development of a disease from its causes, or its period of incubation. (See below.)
  3. Sleeping in a temple or other holy place in order to have oracular dreams.
    • 1978, Benjamin Walker, Encyclopedia of Metaphysical Medicine, Routledge 1978, p. 144:
      Incubation in the vicinity of burial places, cremation grounds, holy wells and sacred streams was common. The ancient Hebrews visited vaults or slept among tombs to get meaningful dreams.


A sitting on eggs for the purpose of hatching young
The development of a disease from its causes, or its period of incubation
A sleeping in a consecrated place for the purpose of dreaming oracular dreams

Extensive Definition

The word incubation (from the Latin incubare, "to lie upon") may refer to:
incubation in German: Inkubation
incubation in French: Incubation
incubation in Hebrew: אינקובטור
incubation in Dutch: Incubator
incubation in Japanese: インキュベーター
incubation in Serbian: Инкубација
incubation in Serbo-Croatian: Inkubacija
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