What does incumbent mean?

Definitions for incumbent
ɪnˈkʌm bəntin·cum·bent

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word incumbent.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. incumbent, officeholderadjective

    the official who holds an office

  2. incumbentadjective

    lying or leaning on something else

    "an incumbent geological formation"

  3. incumbentadjective

    necessary (for someone) as a duty or responsibility; morally binding

    "it is incumbent on them to pay their own debts"

  4. incumbentadjective

    currently holding an office

    "the incumbent governor"


  1. incumbentnoun

    The current holder of an office, such as ecclesiastical benefice or a an elected office.

  2. incumbentnoun

    A holder of a position as supplier to a market or market segment that allows the holder to earn above-normal profits.

  3. incumbentadjective

    Imposed on someone as an obligation, especially due to one's office.

    Proper behavior is incumbent on all holders of positions of trust.

  4. incumbentadjective

    Resting on something else.

  5. incumbentadjective

    Being the current holder of an office or a title.

    If the incumbent senator dies, he is replaced by a person appointed by the governor.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. INCUMBENTadjective

    Etymology: incumbens, Latin.

    Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
    Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air,
    That felt unusual weight. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. i.

    The ascending parcels of air, having now little more than the weight of the incumbent water to surmount, were able both so to expand themselves as to fill up that part of the pipe which they pervaded, and, by pressing every way against the sides of it, to lift upwards with them what water they found above them. Boyle.

    With wings expanded wide ourselves we'll rear,
    And fly incumbent on the dusky air. Dryden.

    Here the rebel giants lye;
    And, when to move th' incumbent load they try,
    Ascending vapours on the day prevail. Addison.

    Man is the destin'd prey of pestilence,
    And o'er his guilty domes
    She draws a close incumbent cloud of death. James Thomson.

    All men, truly zealous, will perform those good works that are incumbent on all Christians. Thomas Sprat, Sermons.

    There is a double duty incumbent upon us in the exercise of our powers. Roger L'Estrange.

    Thus, if we think and act, we shall shew ourselves duly mindful not only of the advantages we receive from thence, but of the obligations also which are incumbent upon us. Francis Atterbury.

  2. Incumbentnoun

    He who is in present possession of a benefice.

    Etymology: incumbens, Latin.

    In many places the whole ecclesiastical dues are in lay hands, and the incumbent lieth at the mercy of his patron. Jonathan Swift.


  1. Incumbent

    The incumbent is the current holder of an office or position, usually in relation to an election. In an election for president, the incumbent is the person holding or acting in the office of president before the election, whether seeking re-election or not. In some situations, there may not be an incumbent at time of an election for that office or position (ex; when a new electoral division is created), in which case the office or position is regarded as vacant or open. In the United States, an election without an incumbent is referred to as an open seat or open contest.


  1. incumbent

    An incumbent refers to a person or organization currently holding a position, office, or role, particularly in government or business. They are the current or existing holder of a particular position who is seeking re-election or continuing in their role. Incumbents typically have an advantage in elections or business competitions due to their existing position, experience, and familiarity with the responsibilities and demands of the role.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Incumbentadjective

    lying; resting; reclining; recumbent; superimposed; superincumbent

  2. Incumbentadjective

    lying, resting, or imposed, as a duty or obligation; obligatory; always with on or upon

  3. Incumbentadjective

    leaning or resting; -- said of anthers when lying on the inner side of the filament, or of cotyledons when the radicle lies against the back of one of them

  4. Incumbentadjective

    bent downwards so that the ends touch, or rest on, something else; as, the incumbent toe of a bird

  5. Incumbentnoun

    a person who is in present possession of a benefice or of any office

  6. Etymology: [L. incumbens, -entis, p. pr. of incumbere to lie down upon, press upon; pref. in- in, on + cumbere (in comp.); akin to cubare to lie down. See Incubate.]


  1. Incumbent

    The incumbent, in politics, is the existing holder of a political office. This term is usually used in reference to elections, in which races can often be defined as being between an incumbent and non-incumbent. For example, in the 2012 United States presidential election, Barack Obama was the incumbent, because he had been the president in the previous term while the election sought to determine the president for the current term. A race without an incumbent is referred to as an open seat.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Incumbent

    in-kum′bent, adj. lying or resting on: lying on as a duty.—n. one who holds an ecclesiastical benefice.—n. Incum′bency, a lying or resting on: the holding of an office: an ecclesiastical benefice.—adv. Incum′bently. [L. incumbens, -entis, pr.p. of incumbĕre, to lie upon.]


  1. Incumbent

    lying one over another: wings when they cover the dorsal horizontally.

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How to pronounce incumbent?

How to say incumbent in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of incumbent in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of incumbent in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of incumbent in a Sentence

  1. Baruch Spinoza:

    To give aid to every poor man is far beyond the reach and power of every man. Care of the poor is incumbent on society as a whole.

  2. Thomas Pepinsky:

    The strength of the incumbent regime must not be underestimated, it retains the legal, infrastructural, and material resources that it has always used to prevail in Malaysia's controlled elections.

  3. Alan Klein:

    In presidential election years in the U.S., the M&A market really slows down considerably come September, particularly when there is no incumbent and the market is uncertain, so people were rushing to get deals done. The heightened volatility over the next few weeks may mean that window has disappeared.

  4. Todd Durbin:

    Now more than ever it is incumbent on us to establish a competition that sets a new standard for elite youth play and allows athletes to achieve their full potential.

  5. Mike DuHaime:

    Late breakers tend to be late breakers because they already have a reason to not be with the front runner, late breakers tend to go with the challenger, not the incumbent.

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Translations for incumbent

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"incumbent." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/incumbent>.

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    in or of the month preceding the present one
    A ultimo
    B articulate
    C incumbent
    D arbitrary

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