au·​to·​im·​mune | \ ˌȯ-tō-im-ˈyün How to pronounce autoimmune (audio) \

Definition of autoimmune

: of, relating to, or caused by autoantibodies or T cells that attack molecules, cells, or tissues of the organism producing them autoimmune diseases

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Other Words from autoimmune

autoimmunity \ ˌȯ-​tō-​im-​ˈyü-​nə-​tē How to pronounce autoimmune (audio) \ noun
autoimmunization \ ˌȯ-​tō-​ˌim-​yə-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce autoimmune (audio) also  -​im-​ˌyü-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

Any healthy body produces a variety of antibodies, proteins in the blood whose job is to protect the body from unwanted bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. The cells and organs that deal with such infections make up the immune system. In some people and animals, for various reasons, the antibodies become overactive and turn on the body's healthy tissues as well; the result is an autoimmune disease—an immune response directed against one's own self. More than eighty autoimmune diseases have been identified, the best-known being type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Examples of autoimmune in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Art Krieg, a doctor specializing in autoimmune disease and biotech founder, agrees. Star Tribune, "Enough doom and gloom about isolating indefinitely," 26 Jan. 2021 As the Mayo Clinic explains, psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body. As Told To Natasha Lavender, SELF, "How Psoriatic Arthritis Changed My Life as a Runner—And a Black Woman," 17 Dec. 2020 Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack its healthy cells. Charli Penn, Essence, "Venus Williams Launches New Vegan Protein Shakes, Shares Her Favorite Benefits of Plant-Based Living," 2 Dec. 2020 He was diagnosed with overtraining syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can be lifelong. Christine Peterson, Outdoor Life, "This Ultra-Runner Is on a Quest to Persistence-Hunt a Pronghorn," 23 Nov. 2020 He was diagnosed with overtraining syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can be lifelong. Popular Science, "Can a hunter outrun an antelope? This ultra-marathoner is finding out.," 23 Nov. 2020 In 2018, she was laid low by Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease that kills most people her age. New York Times, "My Search for Lost Time in a Slice of Jewish Rye," 19 Jan. 2021 Corticosteroids: These types of steroids have been used for years to treat autoimmune diseases. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "Hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, remdesevir, and more: The evidence on proposed COVID-19 treatments," 2 Jan. 2021 Sanz has shown in a study that some severe cases have exactly this response, turning the immune system against its own body, akin to what happens with autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Fedor Kossakovski, Science, "What we’ve learned about how our immune system fights COVID-19," 29 Dec. 2020

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

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First Known Use of autoimmune

1952, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for autoimmune

Time Traveler

The first known use of autoimmune was in 1952

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Last Updated

20 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Autoimmune.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for autoimmune


au·​to·​im·​mune | \ -im-ˈyün How to pronounce autoimmune (audio) \

Medical Definition of autoimmune

: of, relating to, or caused by antibodies or T cells that attack molecules, cells, or tissues of the organism producing them autoimmune diseases

More from Merriam-Webster on autoimmune

Britannica English: Translation of autoimmune for Arabic Speakers

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