Definition of incarnation in US English:



  • 1A person who embodies in the flesh a deity, spirit, or abstract quality.

    ‘Rama was Vishnu's incarnation on earth’
    • ‘The leader claims to be the incarnation of a deity, angel, or special messenger.’
    • ‘The storics of heroism from the epics involved the use of supernatural or divine powers by the avtats or incarnations of gods and goddesses.’
    • ‘Some legends say these delicate creatures are the incarnation of the spirits, others argue that they are angels from heaven.’
    • ‘Gorakhnath, being an incarnation of Shiva, is worshipped as a deity by the Jogis, and has a number of temples dedicated to him.’
    • ‘‘We recognise avatar as an incarnation of a deity,’ laughs Jayachandran.’
    • ‘Whenever Sri Krishna desires to manifest His incarnation on earth, first He creates the incarnations of His respectable predecessors.’
    • ‘Or almost to the last, for towards the end of the story Rama is referred to as an incarnation of the great god Vishnu.’
    • ‘Vidura is the incarnation of Dharma and it is he, who is the father of Yudhishthira and the father-in-law of Draupadi, who comes to her rescue.’
    • ‘These deity incarnations are manifested to give facility to the devotees of the Lord so that they can worship Him in that particular deity form to whom they have developed attraction.’
    • ‘But through Ramakrishna it had acquired a new and human face, for many saw him as an incarnation of the deity.’
    • ‘The expansions of Krishna who come to the material creation are called avataras or incarnations.’
    • ‘The holy land of Bharat is the birthplace of many incarnations and manifestations of divine power that descended on earth in human garb as nimit avatars and nitya avatars.’
    • ‘Such living entities receive the mercy and protection of the Lord in the form of His divine activities and incarnations, either personally or in its literary form as the science of God.’
    • ‘Sangomas are a mixture of priest, diviner, predictor and healer with powers derived from being the incarnation of an ancestral spirit.’
    • ‘This digital you is called an ‘avatar,’ a term borrowed from the Hindu religion that otherwise connotes the incarnation of a deity.’
    • ‘They are actively worshipped, in various incarnations and forms, by many thousands of people - according to strict traditions which they themselves are believed to have established according to their own preferences.’
    • ‘All Deities may assume earthly incarnations.’
    • ‘This ritual apparently provided the necessary steps to propel the spirit into its next incarnation.’
    • ‘In the early 1980s he started calling himself after Rama, the last incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu.’
    • ‘Nearly all of the world's religions include a God of some form, often more than one incarnation of the same deity.’
    embodiment, personification, exemplification, type, epitome
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1the Incarnation (in Christian theology) the embodiment of God the Son in human flesh as Jesus Christ.
      • ‘Theologically intertwined with the doctrine of the Incarnation is the Christian understanding of salvation, the forgiveness of sins.’
      • ‘The result has been some fascinating studies of such topics as sin, the Atonement, and the Incarnation.’
      • ‘The Incarnation includes us as we share Christ's death and resurrection in our own lives and in the church.’
      • ‘With the Christian doctrine of Incarnation firmly in place, embodied humans keep their unique identities for eternity.’
      • ‘It is also a theological treatise that takes seriously both the Incarnation and the role of hospitality in Christian practice.’
      • ‘The focus is on the Incarnation of Christ as interpreted in the fourth gospel, and the means of salvation is primarily the sacraments.’
      • ‘Yet at the same time they deny the doctrine of the Trinity, of the Incarnation, of the Atonement, and of justification by faith alone.’
      • ‘I write as an Anglican theologian of the Cross, who understands the Atonement, or God for us, as prior in theology to the Incarnation, or God with us.’
      • ‘Incarnation, a volume in the New Century Theology series, reads as an extended meditation on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.’
      • ‘There is something even more profound in her view of the body that stems from her theology of the Incarnation.’
      • ‘The Catholic celebration of the Incarnation - full and unqualified - grounds the church.’
      • ‘The characteristic Anglican focus on the Incarnation is our own particular expression of that orientation.’
      • ‘These interventions are Creation, the Incarnation of Christ, Pentecost, and the Second Coming.’
      • ‘What does a belief in the Incarnation and the Resurrection and the Ascension and the future judgment mean for Christian practice and politics?’
      • ‘Christians claim that the Incarnation changes the meaning of everything.’
      • ‘The Incarnation of Jesus Christ is God's Self-revelation to the world.’
      • ‘The wrangles and debates of modern theology have repeatedly stumbled around the doctrine of the Incarnation.’
      • ‘Or is the Gospel the Incarnation itself, God's taking on human flesh, so that those in Christ can become partakers in the divine nature?’
      • ‘He rejected certain Christian doctrines such as the Trinity and the Incarnation, which in his judgment failed to meet the test of rational coherence.’
      • ‘From a Christian point of view the Incarnation crowns the Old Testament manifestations of God's love.’
  • 2(with reference to reincarnation) one of a series of lifetimes that a person spends on earth.

    ‘in my next incarnation, I'd like to be the Secretary of Fun’
    • ‘The easy question to be answered is the latter because in most forms of reincarnation that are taught, we go through a series of incarnations so that we may become wise and learn from our past mistakes.’
    • ‘It is a time to gain a new look on life, to purify oneself and to regain the sense of Godly aspiration as the central purpose for this earthly incarnation.’
    • ‘Except that it determines the course and context of your next earthly incarnation, rather than whether you'll be spirited off to heaven or hell.’
    • ‘I don't know how you feel about it, but you were male in your last earthly incarnation.’
    lifetime, life, existence
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 The form in which a person spends an incarnation.
      • ‘On another song, she was accompanied by a montage of dozens of her previous incarnations.’
      • ‘If you do (and judging by the huge success of previous incarnations of this title, a lot of people do), then Championship Manager Season 03/04 will take over your life.’
      • ‘Their previous incarnations were varied, and some of them potentially detrimental to Mary's reputation.’
      • ‘In either incarnation, he has had little use for Isaiah Berlin or John Dewey.’
      • ‘In a previous journalistic incarnation I was dispatched to the inner sanctum of the Test Match Special outside Broadcast Studio.’
      • ‘There won't be another Earl Anthony in any incarnation: the bowler, the colorful character, the clutch shooter, the dedicated pro.’
      • ‘For many, he's remained the best Bond of them all, despite the character's many incarnations.’
      • ‘The centre failed to attract visitors in its previous incarnations as a visitor attraction and music venue.’
      • ‘The grocer's has evolved into a late-opening convenience store by such tiny increments that it is no longer possible to accurately reconstruct in the memory any of its previous incarnations.’
      • ‘He does occasionally, in this incarnation, convene meetings to condemn the growing criminalisation of politics, uneven development or corruption in the country.’
      • ‘Unlike previous incarnations Batman isn't somehow a separate character apart from the billionnaire playboy, its the conduit through which the playboy saves the world.’
      • ‘It was carrying around with it the junk and poor decisions from previous incarnations, and let me tell you, that stuff gets * heavy * and rather tiresome after a while.’
      • ‘Though this has a similar sound to his previous incarnations, from the get-go there are some very noticeable differences.’
      • ‘The characters look a damn sight better than in previous incarnations, losing most of their blockiness.’
      • ‘His has held positions in academia and business since his first professional incarnation as a library cataloger at Cornell University, of which he is a graduate.’
      • ‘In previous incarnations he has been a Vancouver trial lawyer, a staff writer for The Prague Post, and the editor of Victoria's Monday Magazine, where an earlier version of this story appeared.’
      • ‘I know, I know, quizzes suck, but it's Kylie - Which incarnation of Kylie are you?’
      • ‘Appearing in its first incarnation in 1969, the MGB was an instant success.’
      • ‘And rather than make the Cat an original presence and his own, he shamefully resorts to using voices from his previous screen incarnations.’
      • ‘No wonder the bad guys, in their various incarnations over the years, have always hated us.’
      • ‘We have seen it before in previous incarnations, but we reprint it as mildly amusing.’
      • ‘All members contribute songs, some brand new, others tried-and-tested favourites from previous band incarnations.’
      • ‘This stage musical, an amalgam of the three previous incarnations, premiered in 1997 with Cole Porter's Lyrics embellished by a new book by Arthur Kopit.’
      • ‘It has been a long time since the original, though, and it would be great to see that character in a new incarnation.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, I can see some people falling for this as they have done for previous incarnations of this con.’


Middle English (as a term in Christian theology): via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin incarnatio(n-), from the verb incarnare (see incarnate).