Meaning of “incubate” in the English Dictionary

"incubate" in British English

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incubateverb [ I or T ]

uk /ˈɪŋ.kjə.beɪt/ us /ˈɪŋ.kjə.beɪt/

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.

noun [ U ] uk /ˌɪŋ.kjəˈbeɪ.ʃən/ us /ˌɪŋ.kjəˈbeɪ.ʃən/

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 Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"incubate" in American English

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incubateverb [ I/T ]

us /ˈɪŋ·kjəˌbeɪt, ˈɪn-/

to keep something warm, causing it to develop, esp. to keep eggs warm until the young are born:

Condors incubate only one egg and raise one chick at a time.
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that incubate in forest animals, such as mice.

(Definition of “incubate” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)