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Alteration in Middle English of Late Latin succuba (strumpet, especially a mythological fiend in female form who has intercourse with men in their sleep), from succubare (to lie under), from sub- (under) + cubare (to lie down), from Proto-Indo-European *keu(b) (to bend, to turn).



succubus (plural succubi or succubuses)

  1. (mediaeval folklore) A female demon which comes to men, especially monks, in their dreams to seduce them and have sexual intercourse, drawing energy from the men to sustain themselves, often until the point of exhaustion or death.
    Antonym: incubus
    • 1977 Italo Calvino, The Castle of Crossed Destinies, Part 2, Chapter 5, 1969. Translated from Italian by William Weaver.
      When the Sabbath is caught by the first ray of the rising sun, all the witches and the vampires, incubi and succubi, take flight, some transforming themselves into noctules, some into other bats, some into still other species of Chiroptera.
  2. A strumpet, whore or prostitute.

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