[ in-kyuh-buhs, ing- ]
See synonyms for incubus on
noun,plural in·cu·bi [in-kyuh-bahy, ing-], /ˈɪn kyəˌbaɪ, ˈɪŋ-/, in·cu·bus·es.
  1. 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).

  2. a nightmare.

  1. something that weighs upon or oppresses one like a nightmare.

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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

Words that may be confused with incubus

Words Nearby incubus Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use incubus in a sentence

  • She is betrayed in the usual manner, and finds, when too late, that she is embracing a hairy incubus which has a long tail.

  • Everything in life looked too bright since I succeeded in ridding myself of this incubus, and, then I found you.

    Forging the Blades | Bertram Mitford
  • Penniless and dclasse, the beautiful fugitive was an embarrassing incubus to her Roman relations.

    Court Beauties of Old Whitehall | W. R. H. Trowbridge
  • Even in times when we felt no personal danger, this incubus of savage life all around weighed on our hearts.

    Mary and I | Stephen Return Riggs
  • The Marconi scandal was an incubus which lay heavily on the Government throughout the year.

British Dictionary definitions for incubus


/ (ˈɪnkjʊbəs) /

nounplural -bi (-ˌbaɪ) or -buses
  1. a demon believed in folklore to lie upon sleeping persons, esp to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women: Compare succubus

  2. something that oppresses, worries, or disturbs greatly, esp a nightmare or obsession

Origin of 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