adjuvant

1 of 2

adjective

ad·​ju·​vant ˈa-jə-vənt How to pronounce adjuvant (audio)
1
: serving to aid or contribute : auxiliary
2
: enhancing the effectiveness of medical treatment
Retinoids also seem to be useful as adjuvant therapy in the treatment of psoriasis, and they may induce regression of premalignant lesions, including actinic keratoses.Robert S. Stern
specifically : of, relating to, or being treatment administered following primary cancer treatment to enhance the outcome of primary treatment
adjuvant chemotherapy following surgery
… women who choose this extensive surgery live no longer than women who choose lumpectomy (with or without adjuvant radiation) and frequent check-ups Susan S. Weed
compare neoadjuvant

adjuvant

2 of 2

noun

: one that helps or facilitates: such as
a
: an ingredient (as in a prescription or a solution) that modifies the action of the principal ingredient
b
: something (such as a drug or method) that enhances the effectiveness of medical treatment
used chemotherapy as an adjuvant to surgery
c
: a substance (such as one added to a vaccine) enhancing the immune response to an antigen

Did you know?

Things that are adjuvant rarely get top billing—they're the supporting players, not the stars. But that doesn't mean they're not important. An adjuvant medicine, for example, can have a powerful healing effect when teamed up with another medicine or curative treatment. Adjuvant descends from the Latin verb adjuvare ("to aid"), which also gave English the nouns coadjutor ("assistant") and aid. These days, adjuvant tends to turn up most often in medical contexts, but it can also be used in the general sense of "serving to aid." Likewise, the noun adjuvant can mean "a drug or method that enhances the effectiveness of medical treatment" or simply "one that helps or facilitates."

Examples of adjuvant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Military personnel started comparing the adjuvant combinations on rhesus monkeys at an Army facility in Thailand and ran clinical trials that tested the most promising pairs in humans and devised dosing strategies. Anna Maria Barry-Jester, ProPublica, 4 Oct. 2023 Wedge resection can be an option if the tumor is very small, and a lobectomy to remove a lung lobe offers a better chance of a cure.5 Oncologists may recommend adjuvant chemotherapy for stage 1b lung cancer or cases with aggressive features like those that may occur with large cell carcinoma. Doru Paul, Verywell Health, 22 Apr. 2023 It's also called adjuvant therapy and is typically an option that is given after surgery as a way to prevent cancer from coming back. Alyssa Hui, Verywell Health, 16 May 2023 The data shows enough promise for the companies to start a Phase 3 trial in adjuvant melanoma this year, and could compel them to rapidly expand the vaccine to other tumor types, including non-small cell lung cancer, Eric Rubin, a senior vice president at Merck, wrote in an email. Jocelyn Solis-Moreira, Popular Science, 24 Apr. 2023 Common cancer treatments like chemotherapy and external or internal radiation therapies are considered adjuvant therapies. Doru Paul, Verywell Health, 19 Mar. 2023 Disadvantages On the other hand, protein subunit vaccines require adjuvant to boost the immune response, which can have its own potential adverse effects.27 And their immunity may not be as long-lasting compared to vaccines that use the whole virus. Verywell Health, 22 Feb. 2023 Chemotherapy is often used as a last resort if other therapies are ineffective, or may be used as an adjuvant therapy to immunotherapy or targeted therapy. Seraphina Seow, Health.com, 23 June 2021 Sims said Sanders will need adjuvant treatment with radioactive iodine and long-term continuing care. From Usa Today Network and Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 20 Sep. 2022
Noun
Along with those shots, the patients received the immunotherapy drug atezolizumab and an adjuvant — a substance that increases a vaccine’s effects. Kenneth Miller, Discover Magazine, 9 Dec. 2023 Novavax's vaccine, which uses tiny particles along with an adjuvant to amplify its effects, is likely to arrive later in the fall, because of its longer production time. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2023 If one adjuvant was good, maybe two adjuvants together, stimulating different parts of the immune system, might be even better. Anna Maria Barry-Jester, ProPublica, 4 Oct. 2023 Novavax says that its original vaccine also produces a good T cell response, because the vaccine is fortified with an adjuvant, or additive, that is designed to rev up the immune response and amplify it. Alice Park, Time, 26 Sep. 2023 An adjuvant is an ingredient that helps create a stronger immune response. Rong-Gong Lin Ii, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2023 The vaccine includes an adjuvant, a compound that boosts the response the vaccine triggers. Helen Branswell, STAT, 3 May 2023 Related: Google debuts a new AI tool in the global fight against tuberculosis Although the Gates Medical Research Institute is assuring manufacturing the vaccine, GSK will continue supplying an adjuvant, a molecule designed to amplify the vaccines’ signal to the immune system. Jason Mast Reprints, STAT, 28 June 2023 The vaccine also contains an adjuvant, an ingredient used to rev up the immune system. Carolyn Y. Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, 4 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'adjuvant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

borrowed from Latin adjuvant-, adjuvans, present participle of adjuvāre "to help, aid, facilitate" — more at aid entry 1

Noun

borrowed from Medieval Latin adjuvant-, adjuvans, going back to Latin, present participle of adjuvāre "to help, aid, facilitate" — more at aid entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1583, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of adjuvant was in 1574

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near adjuvant

Cite this Entry

“Adjuvant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adjuvant. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

adjuvant

1 of 2 adjective
ad·​ju·​vant ˈaj-ə-vənt How to pronounce adjuvant (audio)
1
: serving to aid or contribute
2
: assisting in the prevention, amelioration, or cure of disease
adjuvant chemotherapy following surgery

adjuvant

2 of 2 noun
: one that helps or facilitates: as
a
: an ingredient (as in a prescription or solution) that facilitates or modifies the action of the principal ingredient
the beneficial activity of the spray is enhanced by adjuvants
b
: something (as a drug or method) that enhances the effectiveness of a medical treatment
used chemotherapy as an adjuvant to surgery
c
: a substance enhancing the immune response to an antigen
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!