Definitions

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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The nightmare.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Figuratively, a heavy or oppressive burden; especially, a heavy weight on the mind; anything that prevents the free use of the faculties.
  • n. [capitalized] In entomology, a genus of parasitic hymenopters of the family Braconidæ: synonymous with Microgaster of Latreille.

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

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

Etymologies

Middle English, from Late Latin, alteration of Latin incubō, from incubāre, to lie down on; see incubate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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"). (Wiktionary)

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