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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Mrs McBride and the current incumbent were expected to work out a mutually agreed arrangement of hours and duties.
▪ In partial deference to that pOtential backlash, current incumbents did not actively seek committee endorsement.
▪ This time, Clinton ran unopposed, the first Democratic incumbent to do so since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
▪ He is the first elected Democratic incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt to go unchallenged in his own party.
▪ For one thing, Erik Quistgaard, the present incumbent, does not want to go.
▪ The present more orthodox incumbent was a tough man as well as an Augustine; accustomed to risky assignments in Cairo.
▪ The role is narrowly conceived by the present incumbent.
▪ Those who replace them may, with a change of regime, be bolder than present incumbents in criticising the chairman.
▪ Morales faces Republican incumbent U. S. Sen.
▪ Steve Horn, the Republican incumbent.
▪ Steiner easily beat the incumbent to become governor.
▪ An incumbent by definition is the status quo.
▪ He decided to dispense with the goodlooking, personable high-achiever destined to succeed and instead back the incumbent of this space.
▪ It was a role befitting a challenger debating the incumbent.
▪ Races for the U. S. Senate, on the other hand, favor incumbents.
▪ The incumbent is now off in hot pursuit of government funding for the much-enlarged interoperability lab, see above.
▪ The 50-year-old incumbent and the 72-year-old challenger appeared equally relaxed, forceful and well rehearsed.
▪ Efficiency is the principle that voters ought to be able to assess the responsibility of and exercise control over the incumbent government.
▪ Labour would then benefit from the extra coverage given to the incumbent government.
▪ In all election campaigns, incumbent governments are going to be given a harder time than the Opposition.
▪ At the same time, as the incumbent President, he is also answerable for the state of the nation.
▪ Like Clinton 12 years later, he possessed in volume what the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter, lacked.
▪ The incumbent President, Alan García Pérez, was barred by electoral law from seeking re-election.
▪ An election campaign between an incumbent president and a Senate majority leader is bound to be fought out in legislative jousting.
▪ Carter suffered the worse electoral defeat of any incumbent President ever, including Herbert Hoover in 1932.
▪ Never in this century has the fight for the presidency pitted a congressional monarch against an incumbent president.
▪ Bhattarai, the incumbent Prime Minister, had lost his seat in the election.
▪ Carter suffered the worse electoral defeat of any incumbent President ever, including Herbert Hoover in 1932.
▪ He was defeated by incumbent Democrat J. Bennett Johnston who polled 54 percent.
▪ In addition, incumbent firms have actively carried out strategic moves.
▪ Mitchell was to face Republican incumbent Carroll Campbell.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Incumbent \In*cum"bent\, a. [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. Lying; resting; reclining; recumbent; superimposed; superincumbent.

    Two incumbent figures, gracefully leaning upon it.
    --Sir H. Wotton.

    To move the incumbent load they try.

  2. Lying, resting, or imposed, as a duty or obligation; obligatory; always with on or upon.

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

  3. (Bot.) 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. (Zo["o]l.) Bent downwards so that the ends touch, or rest on, something else; as, the incumbent toe of a bird.


Incumbent \In*cum"bent\, n. A person who is in present possession of a benefice or of any office.

The incumbent lieth at the mercy of his patron.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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.


a. 1 imposed on someone as an obligation, especially due to one's office. 2 Lying; resting; reclining; recumbent. 3 (context botany geology English) resting on something else; in botany, 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 (context zoology English) Bent downwards so that the ends touch, or rest on, something else. 5 Being the current holder of an office or a title. n. 1 The current holder of an office, such as ecclesiastical benefice or an elected office. 2 (context business English) A holder of a position as supplier to a market or market segment that allows the holder to earn above-normal profits.

  1. adj. lying or leaning on something else; "an incumbent geological formation"

  2. currently holding an office; "the incumbent governor"

  3. n. the official who holds an office [syn: officeholder]


The incumbent is the current 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(s). 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.

Incumbent (ecclesiastical)

In English ecclesiastical law, the term incumbent refers to the holder of a Church of England parochial charge or benefice. The term benefice originally denoted a grant of land for life in return for services. In church law, the duties were spiritual ("spiritualities") and some form of assets to generate revenue (the "temporalities") were permanently linked to the duties to ensure the support of the office holder. Historically, once in possession of the benefice, the holder had lifelong tenure unless he failed to provide the required minimum of spiritual services or committed a moral offence; but with the passing of the Pastoral Measure 1968 and subsequent legislation, this no longer applies and many ancient benefices have been joined together into a single new one.

At one time an incumbent might choose to enjoy the income of the benefice and appoint an assistant curate to discharge all the spiritual duties of the office at a lesser salary. This was a breach of the canons of 1604, but the abuse was only brought under control with the passing in 1838 of the Pluralities Act (1&2 Victoria, ch.106) which required residence unless the diocesan bishop granted a licence for non-residence for reasons specified in the same act and provided severe penalties for non-compliance.

Usage examples of "incumbent".

Why vote for Briskin when the incumbent is already shipping the bibs across as rapidly as possible ?

Rather than accept the Pisan prebend right away, however, Galileo tried instead to reclaim the Brescian one, now that its incumbent had died, for his infant grandson.

Seeing that the Capellmeister at Eisenstadt, by name Gregorius Werner, having devoted many years of true and faithful service to the princely house, is now, on account of his great age and infirmities, unfit to perform the duties incumbent on him, therefore the said Gregorious Werner, in consideration of his long services, shall retain the post of Capellmeister, and the said Joseph Heyden as Vice-Capellmeister shall, as far as regards the music of the choir, be subordinate to the Capellmeister and receive his instructions.

To deal with the incumbent in power is the easiest course and the inertia of policy in foreign affairs resists the effort to change or take chances.

Then it became incumbent upon him to show her tie toils of the red ants.

Defeated incumbent Joe Carollo and the newly chosen mayor, Xavier Suarez, are battling over the mishandling and forgery of absentee ballots, which resulted in at least one verified dead person, Manuel Yip, casting a vote.

The bishops and other patrons thus assigned the great tithes of corn of many parishes to religious foundations elsewhere, only leaving the incumbent the smaller tithe from other crops - an arrangement which has resulted in many abuses.

AI decided it was incumbent upon it to disobey directives and contact its owner, if only to seek clarification of those same prohibitions.

You may guess, perhaps, that what silences me is a reason incumbent on all Christians--the sacred seal of the confessional.

Comyn thought it incumbent on him to leave a note for his lordship, apprising him of our intention to wed.

Bibbs's room, that neat apartment for transients to which the "lamidal" George had shown him upon his return, still bore the appearance of temporary quarters, possibly because Bibbs had no clear conception of himself as a permanent incumbent.

It was incumbent on him, as a freelance bioprospector, to learn how to repair in the field a good deal more than just the gear he used to study plants and other growing things.

Don Corleone set up a system of tribute, allowing all incumbents to remain in their bookmaking and policy number spots.

But it is also incumbent on every one to offer libations and sacrifices and first fruits, conformably to the customs of his country, with purity, and not in a slovenly manner, nor negligently, nor sparingly, nor beyond his ability.

No other member of his family had ever felt it incumbent upon him (or her) to repay the sums he had from time to time disbursed: all too many of them demanded unlimited largesse as a right.