[in-kahr-ney-shuh n]
  1. an incarnate being or form.
  2. a living being embodying a deity or spirit.
  3. assumption of human form or nature.
  4. the Incarnation, (sometimes lowercase) Theology. the doctrine that the second person of the Trinity assumed human form in the person of Jesus Christ and is completely both God and man.
  5. a person or thing regarded as embodying or exhibiting some quality, idea, or the like: The leading dancer is the incarnation of grace.
  6. the act of incarnating.
  7. state of being incarnated.

Origin of incarnation

1250–1300; Middle English incarnacion < Late Latin incarnātiōn- (stem of incarnātiō) equivalent to incarnāt(us) incarnate + -iōn- -ion
Related formsin·car·na·tion·al, adjectivepost·in·car·na·tion, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for incarnational


  1. the act of manifesting or state of being manifested in bodily form, esp human form
  2. a bodily form assumed by a god, etc
  3. a person or thing that typifies or represents some quality, idea, etcthe weasel is the incarnation of ferocity


  1. Christian theol the assuming of a human body by the Son of God
  2. Christianity the presence of God on Earth in the person of Jesus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for incarnational



c.1300, "embodiment of God in the person of Christ," from Old French incarnacion (12c.), from Late Latin incarnationem (nominative incarnatio), "act of being made flesh" (used by Church writers especially of God in Christ), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin incarnare "to make flesh," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + caro (genitive carnis) "flesh" (see carnage).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

incarnational in Culture


The Christian belief that the Son, the second person of the Trinity, was incarnated, or made flesh, in the person of Jesus, in order to save the world from original sin (see also original sin).

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.