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incarnation Line breaks: in|car|na¦tion
Pronunciation: /ɪnkɑːˈneɪʃ(ə)n/

Definition of incarnation in English:


1A person who embodies in the flesh a deity, spirit, or quality: Rama was Vishnu’s incarnation on earth Beethoven was an incarnation of artistic genius
More example sentences
  • These deity incarnations are manifested to give facility to the devotees of the Lord so that they can worship Him in that particular deity form to whom they have developed attraction.
  • The leader claims to be the incarnation of a deity, angel, or special messenger.
  • ‘We recognise avatar as an incarnation of a deity,’ laughs Jayachandran.
manifestation, bodily form, representation in the flesh
rare avatar
1.1 (the Incarnation) (In Christian theology) the embodiment of God the Son in human flesh as Jesus Christ.
Example sentences
  • Incarnation, a volume in the New Century Theology series, reads as an extended meditation on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.
  • The Incarnation of Jesus Christ is God's Self-revelation to the world.
  • I write as an Anglican theologian of the Cross, who understands the Atonement, or God for us, as prior in theology to the Incarnation, or God with us.
2(With reference to reincarnation) each of a series of earthly lifetimes: in my next incarnation, I’d like to be the Minister of Fun
More example sentences
  • The easy question to be answered is the latter because in most forms of reincarnation that are taught, we go through a series of incarnations so that we may become wise and learn from our past mistakes.
  • I don't know how you feel about it, but you were male in your last earthly incarnation.
  • Except that it determines the course and context of your next earthly incarnation, rather than whether you'll be spirited off to heaven or hell.
lifetime, life, existence
2.1The form taken by a person or thing during an incarnation: in a previous journalistic incarnation, I worked at Westminster the pub has gone through several incarnations
More example sentences
  • Unlike previous incarnations Batman isn't somehow a separate character apart from the billionnaire playboy, its the conduit through which the playboy saves the world.
  • The characters look a damn sight better than in previous incarnations, losing most of their blockiness.
  • In a previous journalistic incarnation I was dispatched to the inner sanctum of the Test Match Special outside Broadcast Studio.


Middle English (as a term in Christian theology): via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin incarnatio(n-), from the verb incarnare (see incarnate).

  • carnival from mid 16th century:

    Originally a carnival was, in Roman Catholic countries, the period before Lent, a time of public merrymaking and festivities. It comes from medieval Latin carnelevamen ‘Shrovetide’. The base elements of the Latin word are caro, carn- ‘flesh’ and levare ‘to put away’, before the meat-free fasting of Lent began. There is a popular belief that carnival is from carne vale, ‘farewell, meat’, but this is mistaken. Other flesh-related words that come from caro include carnivorous (late 16th century), carnage (early 17th century), carnation (late 16th century) (from the flower's ‘fleshy’ colour), carrion (Middle English), and incarnation (Middle English).

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