an·​er·​gy ˈa-(ˌ)nər-jē How to pronounce anergy (audio)
: a condition in which the body fails to react to an antigen

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary a- entry 2 + -ergy (as in allergy)

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of anergy was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near anergy

Cite this Entry

“Anergy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


an·​er·​gy ˈan-(ˌ)ər-jē How to pronounce anergy (audio)
plural anergies
: a condition in which the body's immune system fails to react to an antigen : immunological hyporesponsiveness
Specific anergy is lack of reactivity to an individual antigen, while generalized (nonspecific) anergy is the inability to react to any antigen.Harriet Kitzman et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association
By deliberately throwing cells into anergy, researchers also hope to control allergies and certain autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, in which white blood cells attack the body's connective tissue in the joints.Gina Kolata, The New York Times
anergic adjective
If the second signal is not provided, the T cell becomes unresponsive (anergic). Suryaprakash R. Sambhara et al., Science,
Patients with AIDS have tended to be anergic (both on skin tests and in vitro) and lymphopenic … D. Peter Drotman, The Journal of the American Medical Association
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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