The Meaning of Incur: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of incur? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word incur, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word incur mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word incur is a verb that means to make oneself subject to or bring upon oneself, as well as to run into or encounter. Incur is two syllables – in-cur, and the pronunciation of incur is ɪnˈkɜː. One can add the suffix ble to the end of the word incur to make the related word incurrable (adj.), as well as ed and ing to make different tenses such as the past participle, past tense or present participle in incurred and incurring.

Many different languages also contain words that mean incur. In this list of translations from Word Sense, you may notice that some of these translations of incur look and sound similar. These are called cognates, which are words in different languages that look, sound, and mean something similar. These types of words are usually formed when the two words or languages have the same root or language of origin. 

  •  Icelandic: reyna‎, verða fyrir‎, upplifa‎
  •  Vietnamese: kinh nghiệm‎
  •  Indonesian: mengalami‎
  •  Polish: doświadczyć‎
  •  Russian: испы́тывать‎ (impf), испыта́ть‎ (pf), пережива́ть‎ (impf), пережи́ть‎ (pf)
  •  Turkish: duymak‎, haber almak‎, öğrenmek‎
  •  Gujarati: અનુભવવું‎
  •  Spanish: incurrir‎
  •  Dutch: zich blootstellen aan‎ (neut.)
  •  Swahili: tajiriba‎, uzoefu‎
  •  Lithuanian: patirti‎
  •  Korean: 경험‎
  •  Esperanto: sperti‎
  •  Portuguese: experienciar‎, vivenciar‎
  •  West Frisian: belibje‎
  •  Interlingua: experientiar‎
  •  Hindi: अनुभव करना‎ (anubhav karnā)
  •  German: erfahren‎, erleben‎
  •  Tagalog: danas‎
  •  Latvian: pieredzēt‎, piedzīvot‎
  •  Japanese: 経験‎, 体験‎
  •  Bulgarian: изпитвам‎, преживявам‎
  •  Italian: esperire‎
  •  Norwegian: erfare‎
  •  French: s’exposer à, encourir‎
  •  Hungarian: tapasztal‎
  •  Romanian: păți‎
  •  Danish: opleve‎, erfare‎
  •  Volapük: lifotön‎, plakön‎
  •  Georgian: გადაიტანს‎
  •  Old English: ġebīdan‎
  •  Czech: pociťovat‎, pocítit‎
  •  Serbo-Croatian: iskúsiti‎
  •  Catalan: incórrer‎
  •  Finnish: aiheuttaa‎, saattaa itsensä alttiiksi
  •  Swedish: utsätta sig för, ådra sig‎
  •  Mandarin: 經歷‎, 經歷‎ (jīnglì), 體驗‎, 体验‎ (tǐyàn)

What is the origin of the word incur?

According to Etymonline, the word incur (ɪnˈkɜːr) has been used since Late Middle English in c14. This word comes from the Anglo-French encurir and Old French encorir, which stem from the Latin incurrere, formed by the prefix in and the root currere. These latin words come from the word kers Proto-Indo-European roots. This word’s original nature meant to being a consequence upon oneself, but the the mid 15th century, it became to be used to mean to become liable for, particularly with regard to some sort of payment or expense. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of incur?

There are many different words that have an equivalent meaning to the word incur. These are called synonyms. Learning synonyms is a great way to expand your English language vocabulary and avoid repeating yourself in spoken and written English .This list of synonyms of incur is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  attract
  •  run up
  •  experience
  •  on the tab
  •  take
  •  be disposed to
  •  become infected with
  •  provoke
  •  be obligated
  •  run up a bill
  •  ought to
  •  earn
  •  gain
  •  be indebted
  •  incurring
  •  sustain
  •  run
  •  arouse
  •  have borrowed
  •  receive
  •  draw
  •  get
  •  contract
  •  bring upon oneself
  •  lay oneself open to
  •  be able to
  •  suffer
  •  be beholden
  •  get on credit
  •  owe
  •  contracted
  •  acquire
  •  obtain
  •  bring on
  •  come down with
  •  catch
  •  induce
  •  behind
  •  invite
  •  be in debt
  •  feel bound
  •  meet with
  •  break out with
  •  develop
  •  lost
  •  contracting
  •  find
  •  expose oneself to
  •  be into one for
  •  bring upon

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite meaning of the word incur. These opposite words are called antonyms. Memorizing antonyms is another quick and easy way to expand your English vocabulary. This list of antonyms of incur is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  fudge
  •  refrain from
  •  shirk
  •  dodge
  •  eschew
  •  deflect
  •  invalidate
  •  forbear
  •  spurn
  •  keep off
  •  nullify
  •  abstain
  •  ward off
  •  forgo
  •  elude
  •  stop
  •  miss
  •  prevent
  •  boycott
  •  reject
  •  fight shy of
  •  abstain from
  •  evade
  •  annul
  •  obviate
  •  ensure
  •  avert
  •  circumventing
  •  circumvent
  •  help
  •  inhibit
  •  void
  •  preclude
  •  stave off
  •  bypass
  •  avoid
  •  flee
  •  head off
  •  duck
  •  refrain
  •  steer clear of
  •  ignore
  •  debar
  •  skirt
  •  shake off
  •  fend off
  •  give up
  •  sidestep
  •  shun
  •  escape
  •  quash

How can the word incur be used in a sentence?

The word incur can be used in many different ways in American English. Using new words in a sentence can be a great way to add new lingo to your vocabulary. You can also try making flashcards or a quiz for yourself to test your knowledge. Try usng this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of incur to help get your started. 

His own actions of great danger caused him to incur the wrath and anger of a friend. 

She incurred great displeasure when not a single encounter allowed her to purchase a vast collection of swords for a price she could afford. 

A similar spacecraft incurred an illusion of the apparent rising of the Earth on the lunar horizon of the far side of the moon.

Due to substantial losses during the stock market crash, the man incurred a huge number of debts. He cut back on his transactions and got help to pay his rent possession.

The office space incurred expense not only for the concrete raw materials, but for the abstract costs of the manufacturers like processing fees.

The paid expanse in the accrual accounting system was an astronomical incurred cost over the accounting term.

Overall, the word incur (ɪnˈkɜr) means to experience, often in a negative way. This word has a very negative connotation. This word is of Old French, Latin and Indo-European roots. Try using this word in a sentence today!


  1. Incur definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. incur: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. Incur synonyms – 520 Words and Phrases for Incur | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Incur antonyms – 23 Opposites of Incur | Power Thesaurus 
  5. incur | Origin and meaning of incur | Online Etymology Dictionary