Incubation period: In medicine, the time from the moment of exposure to an infectious agent until signs and symptoms of the disease appear. For example, the incubation period of chickenpox is 14-16 days.
In biology, the incubation period is the time needed for any particular process of development to take place. For example, the length of time for turtle eggs to hatch is the incubation period.
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016