Definition of incubus in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɪŋkjʊbəs/

noun (plural incubi /ˈɪŋkjʊbʌɪ/)

1A male demon believed to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women.
Example sentences
  • The earliest literary sources have Merlin as a wonder child, born of an incubus (a male demon), and a Welsh nun.
  • However, if we look at the details of nocturnal sexual molestations, whether by the Devil, demons, or incubi, as described in trial confessions, we find little mention of paralysis, inarticulacy, suffocation, or chest pressure.
  • He is said to have been the child of a human mother and an incubus, or demon.
1.1A cause of difficulty or anxiety: debt is a big incubus in developing countries
More example sentences
  • If I didn't know better, I would suppose that city planning staffs were dying to rethink and overhaul the incubus of pointless or destructive municipal, state, and federal planning regulations.
  • It was a Christian Democratic party that had its roots and values in the Resistance and that purged the incubus of the traditional association of Catholicism with the Right.
  • Many economists have in recent decades come to be persuaded that there is a way to get the political incubus off the economy's back.
1.2 archaic A nightmare.
Example sentences
  • The Alp has widely been regarded as simply the German counterpart of the incubus or nightmare.


Middle English: late Latin form of Latin incubo 'nightmare', from incubare 'lie on' (see incubate).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in¦cu|bus

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