- holding an indicated position, role, office, etc., currently: the incumbent officers of the club.
- obligatory (often followed by on or upon): a duty incumbent upon me.
- Archaic. resting, lying, leaning, or pressing on something: incumbent upon the cool grass.
- the holder of an office: The incumbent was challenged by a fusion candidate.
- British. a person who holds an ecclesiastical benefice.
Origin of incumbent
Examples from the Web for incumbent
Contemporary Examples of incumbent
Twelve incumbent governors who publicly support Common Core easily won re-election.Why Voters Love Common Core
Harold Ford Jr.
November 28, 2014
When Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Matheson opted not to run again, Love won by several thousand votes in the 2014 midterms.The Republican Rainbow Coalition Is Real
November 18, 2014
Actually, Brown lost the Senate race to Democrat incumbent Jean Shaheen because Scott once posed nude for Cosmo.The GOP Senate: A New Utopia Dawns
P. J. O’Rourke
November 8, 2014
The Democratic incumbent was doing fine with local issues until her opponent used the ISIS beheadings to turn the tide.Kay Hagan's North Carolina Crash
November 5, 2014
In Illinois, embattled Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn lost his bid for re-election against Bruce Rauner.GOP Shocks Democrats in Governor Races
November 5, 2014
Historical Examples of incumbent
It was incumbent upon Mr. Gladstone to lead the opposition to this motion.The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
Fanny did not see that; but felt it incumbent on her to continue talking. 'Little Dorrit
The very utmost he can do is no more than is incumbent upon him.
It could not, then, be incumbent on her to let her life be taken in payment.
Every man, woman, and child, thinks it incumbent on them to sport a mourning face.Arthur O'Leary
Charles James Lever
- formal (often postpositive and foll by on or upon and an infinitive) morally binding or necessary; obligatoryit is incumbent on me to attend
- (usually postpositive and foll by on) resting or lying (on)
- a person who holds an office, esp a clergyman holding a benefice
Word Origin for incumbent
early 15c., "person holding a church position," from Medieval Latin incumbentem (nominative incumbens) "holder of a church position," noun use of present participle of incumbere "to obtain or possess," from Latin incumbere "recline on," figuratively "apply oneself to," from in- "on" (see in- (2)) + -cumbere "lie down," related to cubare "to lie" (see cubicle). Extended to holders of any office from 1670s.
1560s, in relation to duties or obligations, from Latin incumbentem (nominative incumbens), present participle of incumbere (see incumbent (n.)). The literal, physical sense is rare in English and first attested 1620s.
One who holds a public office. By virtue of their experience in office, their exposure to the public, and their ability to raise campaign funds, incumbents usually have a significant advantage over opponents if they choose to run for reelection.