Incumbent means currently holding an office or position, or imposed as a duty or obligation.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech

Adjective or noun.


Holder, occupant, current, present, obligatory.


Non-incumbent, former, past.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun incumbency, incumbencies, incumbents, incumbent
Verb None
Adjective incumbent
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The incumbent mayor is seeking reelection in the upcoming election.

  • The company’s incumbent CEO has announced his retirement after ten years in the role.

  • The incumbent senator has served in Congress for over thirty years.

  • The incumbent president will deliver his State of the Union address tonight.


The word “incumbent” is a versatile term that can be used to refer to a variety of different contexts. It is often used in political settings, where it refers to a person who currently holds an elected office and is seeking reelection. In this context, “incumbent” is often used as a noun, as in “the incumbent senator” or “the incumbent president.” However, it can also be used as an adjective to describe the person in question, as in “the incumbent mayor.”

In addition to political contexts, “incumbent” can also be used in business or organizational settings to refer to someone who currently holds a particular position or role. For example, “the incumbent CEO” or “the incumbent director of marketing.” In this case, the word is often used as a noun, but it can also be used as an adjective, as in “the incumbent project manager.”

Another common usage of “incumbent” is to describe a duty or obligation that is imposed upon someone. For example, “it is incumbent upon us to ensure the safety of our employees.” In this case, the word is often used with the preposition “upon” to indicate that something is required or expected of someone.

The word “incumbent” can also be modified with various prefixes, suffixes, and roots to create related words. For example, “incumbency” refers to the state of being an incumbent or holding a particular office or position. “Incumbentcy” and “incumbentship” are less commonly used variations of this word. The suffix “-cy” is often added to words to create abstract nouns indicating a state or quality.

The root “in-” in “incumbent” is a prefix meaning “in” or “on.” It can be found in many other words, such as “inception,” “inherent,” and “infinite.” The root “-cumb-” comes from the Latin word “cumbere,” meaning “to lie down,” and is also found in words like “recumbent” and “succumb.” These variations can be useful for understanding the etymology of the word and its connections to other related terms. Overall, the word “incumbent” is a useful and flexible term that can be applied to a wide range of situations and contexts.