[in-kyuh-buh s, ing-]

noun, plural in·cu·bi [in-kyuh-bahy, ing-] /ˈɪn kyəˌbaɪ, ˈɪŋ-/, in·cu·bus·es.

an imaginary demon or evil spirit supposed to descend upon sleeping persons, especially one fabled to have sexual intercourse with women during their sleep.Compare succubus(def 1).
a nightmare.
something that weighs upon or oppresses one like a nightmare.

Origin of incubus

1175–1225; Middle English < Late Latin: a nightmare induced by such a demon, noun derivative of Latin incubāre to lie upon; see incubate
Can be confusedincubus succubus Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for incubi

hobgoblin, nightmare, demon, devil, fiend, goblin, succuba, succubus

Examples from the Web for incubi

Historical Examples of incubi

  • He is in the power of the incubi, whom he has been so long warring against.

  • I page through the book, and my eye is caught by the part about Incubi and Succubi.


    August Strindberg

  • The Fairies marry not; but there be amongst them Incubi, that have copulation with flesh and bloud.


    Thomas Hobbes

  • Thus we are bound to believe in succubi and incubi, because our teachers have always believed in them.

    A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 6 (of 10)

    Franois-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)

  • During the witchcraft period familiarity of this nature with Incubi or Succubi was punished with death.

    Woman, Church &amp; State

    Matilda Joslyn Gage

British Dictionary definitions for incubi


noun plural -bi (-ˌbaɪ) or -buses

a demon believed in folklore to lie upon sleeping persons, esp to have sexual intercourse with sleeping womenCompare succubus
something that oppresses, worries, or disturbs greatly, esp a nightmare or obsession

Word Origin for incubus

C14: from Late Latin, from incubāre to lie upon; see incubate
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 incubi



c.1200, from Late Latin (Augustine), from Latin incubo "nightmare, one who lies down on (the sleeper)," from incubare "to lie upon" (see incubate). Plural is incubi. In the Middle Ages their existence was recognized by law.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

incubi in Medicine


[ĭnkyə-bəs, ĭng-]

n. pl. in•cu•bus•es

An evil spirit believed to have sexual intercourse with women as they sleep.
A nightmare.
An oppressive or nightmarish burden.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.