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English definition of “incubate”

incubate

verb [I or T] uk   /ˈɪŋ.kjʊ.beɪt/ us  

incubate verb [I or T] (EGG)

When a bird, etc. incubates its eggs, it keeps them warm until the young come out, and when eggs incubate, they develop to the stage at which the young come out: The female bird incubates the eggs for about 16 days.

incubate verb [I or T] (DISEASE)

When harmful bacteria or viruses incubate, or when a person or animal incubates them, they increase in size or number in the person's or animal's body but do not yet produce the effects of disease.
incubation
noun [U] uk   /ˌɪŋ.kjʊˈbeɪ.ʃən/ us  
The incubation period varies depending on the time of year when the eggs were laid. In smallpox, there is an incubation period of 8–18 days between initial infection and first symptoms.
(Definition of incubate from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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