holding an indicated position, role, office, etc., currently:
the incumbent officers of the club.
obligatory (often followed by on or upon):
a duty incumbent upon me.
Archaic. resting, lying, leaning, or pressing on something:
incumbent upon the cool grass.
the holder of an office:
The incumbent was challenged by a fusion candidate.
British. a person who holds an ecclesiastical benefice.
Contemporary Examples

The anti-incumbent narrative likewise failed last night, as Kentucky Democrat Beshear was easily reelected.
Election Day Backlash John Avlon November 8, 2011

But Perry rushed to her right flank, trying to tie her to Washington in an anti-incumbent year.
Texas Goes Wingnut John Avlon February 28, 2010

It would be quite the irony if the anti-incumbent tide catches the governor in its undertow.
Statehouse Smackdowns Samuel P. Jacobs September 3, 2010

And independents, the most anti-incumbent, are leaning heavily Republican, 53 percent to 33 percent.
Don’t Blow It, GOP! Mark McKinnon October 4, 2010

The anti-incumbent wave in American politics has made looking for votes this fall like looking for water in the Arizona desert.
Meet Obama’s Karl Rove Dayo Olopade May 11, 2010

(formal) often postpositive and foll by on or upon and an infinitive. morally binding or necessary; obligatory: it is incumbent on me to attend
usually postpositive and foll by on. resting or lying (on)
a person who holds an office, esp a clergyman holding a benefice

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.
incumbent [(in-kum-buhnt)]

One who holds a public office. By virtue of their experience in office, their exposure to the public, and their ability to raise campaign funds, incumbents usually have a significant advantage over opponents if they choose to run for reelection.


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