1

adjuvant

adjective ad·ju·vant \ ˈa-jə-vənt \
Updated on: 25 Apr 2018

Definition of adjuvant

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 was our Word of the Day on 09/02/2016. Hear the podcast!

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."

Origin and Etymology of adjuvant

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

2

adjuvant

noun

Definition of adjuvant

: 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

Recent Examples of adjuvant from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adjuvant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of adjuvant

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

Medical Dictionary

1

adjuvant

adjective ad·ju·vant \ ˈaj-ə-vənt \

medical Definition of adjuvant

1 : serving to aid or contribute
2 : assisting in the prevention, amelioration, or cure of disease
  • adjuvant chemotherapy following surgery

2

adjuvant

noun

medical Definition of adjuvant

: 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


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to treat with excessive attention

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