May 02, 2012
- incubate (verb)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : to sit on eggs to hatch them by warmth2 : to maintain (as bacteria or a chemically active system) under conditions good for development or reaction3 : to go through the process of incubation
- How do you use it?
- In some bird species, such as penguins, the mother and the father take turns incubating the eggs.
- Are you a word wiz?
Which one of these words do you think shares a root with "incubate"?"Incubate" is rooted in the Latin verb "cubare," which means "to lie," but which seems to have been considered close enough to "sit" when applied to the hatching of eggs. Although we now associate it with a small work space in an office, the word "cubicle"—also from "cubare"—originally described a sleeping compartment partitioned off from a large room. Other related words include the adjective "recumbent," which means "being in a state of rest" or "lying down," and "incumbent," a person who holds or "lies in" an office or position.