VCR Lesson 6

By Kala Bernard

Fill in the blank.

Right now, President Obama holds the ____________ position of the president of the United States.
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Incumbent (noun or adjective)



A person who holds an office or position.


1. Already holding an office or position.

2. Required as a duty or obligation (often used with on).

Alternate form

incumbency (noun)


  • cubo, cubare, cubui, cubitum - to lie down (Latin)
  • incumbo, incumbere, incubui, incubitum - to recline (Latin)
  • in - in (Latin)



  • officeholder
  • occupant
  • official


  • obligatory
  • binding
  • necessary
  • compelling



  • no direct antonyms
  • anyone who does not currently hold a specific position in office


  • unnecessary
  • unimportant
  • optional
  • extra
  • voluntary

Word Usage

Incumbent can be used in its literal sense ("leaning" or "lying on").

Example from book: Crumbling rock and incumbent slabs of stone and concrete made rescue efforts after the earthquake both difficult and hazardous.

Another example: The old chair's legs were in an incumbent position against the wall, making it look like an unsteady place to rest.

Chose the sentence where the word in bold is used incorrectly.

  1. It is incumbent upon all teachers to teach their students and help them if they have trouble understanding the lesson.
  2. During her incumbency, she ran to be elected for the first time on a board position .
  3. John Kerry is the incumbent for the Presidential Cabinet position of Secretary of State.
  4. As an incumbent, he has a higher chance of getting re-elected because of the publicity and strong reputation of his position.

Answer was 2

If she was really an incumbent and already held a position on the board, she would not be running to be elected for the first time.