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

  • n. A female demon supposed to descend upon and have sexual intercourse with a man while he sleeps.
  • n. An evil spirit; a demon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A female demon which comes to men, especially monks, in their dreams to seduce them and have sexual intercourse, drawing energy from the men to sustain themselves, often until the point of exhaustion or death.
  • n. A strumpet, whore or prostitute.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A demon or fiend; especially, a lascivious spirit supposed to have sexual intercourse with the men by night; a succuba. Cf. incubus.
  • n. The nightmare. See Nightmare, 2.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A demon fabled to have sexual intercourse with human beings in their sleep.

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

  • n. a female demon believed to have sexual intercourse with sleeping men


Middle English, from Medieval Latin, alteration (influenced by Late Latin incubus, incubus) of Latin succuba, paramour, from succubāre, to lie under : sub-, sub- + cubāre, to lie down.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Alteration in Middle English of Late Latin succuba ("strumpet, especially a mythological fiend in female form who has intercourse with men in their sleep"), from succubare ("to lie under"), from sub- ("under") + cubare ("to lie down"), from Proto-Indo-European *keu(b) (“to bend, to turn”). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Interesting that succubus is on 42 wordies' lists, while incubus appears on only 27. Incubus, in contrast, enjoys several more Weirdnet definitions.

    September 14, 2009

  • Sometimes in the altered form succuba with feminine ending (which in Latin actually meant "whore"). The primacy of the masculine -us ending, however, means (I think) that it is not the case that the demons were female, rather that they took female form to lie under (sub-cub-) men; as they took male form to lie in (in-cub-) women.

    June 10, 2009

  • A succubus (plural succubi) is a demon who takes the form of a beautiful woman to seduce men, especially monks, in dreams to have sexual intercourse, according the medieval European legend. Their male counterpart is the incubus. They draw energy from the men to sustain themselves, often until the point of exhaustion or death of the victim.

    September 27, 2008