(1) A particular physical form or version of something. (2) A person showing a trait to a marked degree.
During the Gulf War, press reports depicted Saddam Hussein as the incarnation of evil.
Incarnation originally referred to gods and deities taking on fleshly form, but now it more commonly refers to anything in the physical world that clearly illustrates some principle. The crowded streets of Hong Kong are said to be the incarnation of business and commerce. Sometimes incarnation can simply mean "a version" or "a form or state." An old building, for instance, can pass through several incarnations -- as first an inn, then a private home, and then a store -- before being turned into its original purpose.