immunity

noun
im·​mu·​ni·​ty | \ i-ˈmyü-nə-tē How to pronounce immunity (audio) \
plural immunities

Definition of immunity

: the quality or state of being immune especially : a condition of being able to resist a particular disease especially through preventing development of a pathogenic microorganism or by counteracting the effects of its products — see also active immunity, passive immunity

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Synonyms for immunity

Synonyms

exemption, impunity

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Examples of immunity in a Sentence

They have developed immunity to the virus. They have developed an immunity to the virus.

Recent Examples on the Web

The other legislation would forbid the country’s High Court of Justice from scrutinizing parliamentary decisions, should the court decide to question the legality of the immunity law. Washington Post, "For Netanyahu, winning reelection could be the only way to avoid corruption charges," 18 Sep. 2019 Additionally, victims' attorneys and government lawyers could be hampered by an immunity provision in Epstein's non-prosecution agreement. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "Jeffrey Epstein is dead. Prosecutors could still go after his inner circle if they helped him prey on young girls," 10 Aug. 2019 His attorneys again offered up the information, but on the condition that prosecutors wouldn’t use it against Christensen at his trial, resulting in the immunity agreement that kept Zhang’s family in the dark until recently. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "Killer of Illinois Scholar Shares Disturbing New Details About How He Disposed of Her Body," 8 Aug. 2019 Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey, who is prosecuting Smith, opposes Smith’s request for a second immunity hearing. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al.com, "Montgomery cop again seeking immunity in shooting of black man," 24 July 2019 Part of Epstein's immunity deal left open the avenue for civil charges to be brought up against Epstein. CBS News, "Alan Dershowitz, Jeffrey Epstein's former lawyer, claims to have proof his accuser is lying," 10 July 2019 Scott’s immunity deal means he cannot be criminally charged or face administrative action by the Navy, Cmdr. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Forensics experts open second week of war crimes trial of Navy SEAL," 25 June 2019 Scott said no one asked him how the patient died and acknowledged the immunity deal allowed him to finally fess up. Brian Melley, The Denver Post, "Witness at Navy SEAL trial says he killed victim out of mercy," 20 June 2019 Scott said no one asked him how the patient died and cited the immunity deal that allowed him to finally fess up. Author: Julie Watson, Brian Melley, Anchorage Daily News, "Witness at Navy SEAL’s trial admits killing wounded teenage ISIS prisoner," 20 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'immunity.' 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 immunity

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for immunity

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for immunity

The first known use of immunity was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for immunity

immunity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of immunity

medical : the power to keep yourself from being affected by a disease
: special protection from what is required for most people by law

immunity

noun
im·​mu·​ni·​ty | \ i-ˈmyü-nə-tē How to pronounce immunity (audio) \
plural immunities

Kids Definition of immunity

1 : freedom from an obligation or penalty to which others are subject immunity from punishment
2 : the power to resist infection whether natural or acquired (as by vaccination)

immunity

noun
im·​mu·​ni·​ty | \ im-ˈyü-nət-ē How to pronounce immunity (audio) \
plural immunities

Medical Definition of immunity

: the quality or state of being immune especially : a condition of being able to resist a particular disease especially through preventing development of a pathogenic microorganism or by counteracting the effects of its products — see acquired immunity, active immunity, natural immunity, passive immunity

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immunity

noun
im·​mu·​ni·​ty | \ i-ˈmyü-nə-tē How to pronounce immunity (audio) \
plural immunities

Legal Definition of immunity

1 : exemption from a duty or liability that is granted by law to a person or class of persons a defendant may not take the stand in his own behalf and then claim immunity from cross-examination— W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr. also : the affirmative defense of having such an exemption
absolute immunity
: immunity from all personal civil liability without limits or conditions (as a requirement of good faith) — compare qualified immunity in this entry
charitable immunity
: immunity from civil liability especially for negligent torts that is granted to a charitable or nonprofit organization (as a hospital)
constitutional immunity
: immunity (as from a tax) that is granted or created by a constitution (as the U.S. Constitution)
corporate immunity
: immunity from personal liability for tortious acts that is granted to an officer of a corporation who acted in good faith and within the course of his or her duties — see also business judgment rule — compare pierce
diplomatic immunity
: immunity (as from taxes or prosecution) granted to a diplomat
discovery immunity
discretionary immunity
: qualified immunity from civil liability for tortious acts or omissions that arise from a government employee's discretionary acts performed as part of the employee's duties — see also the Federal Tort Claims Act

Note: The Federal Tort Claims Act includes an additional requirement of acting in good faith for the discretionary immunity granted to the federal government.

executive immunity
: immunity granted to officers of the executive branch of government from personal liability for tortious acts or omissions done in the course of carrying out their duties

Note: While the president's executive immunity is absolute, the immunity of other federal executive officials is qualified.

governmental immunity
: discretionary immunity granted to a governmental unit (as an agency) or its employees broadly : sovereign immunity in this entry
judicial immunity
: absolute immunity from civil liability that is granted to judges and other court officers (as prosecutors and grand juries) and quasi-judicial officials for tortious acts or omissions done within the scope of their jurisdiction or authority
legislative immunity
: absolute immunity from civil liability that is granted to legislators for tortious acts or omissions done in the course of legislative activities — see also speech or debate clause
official immunity
: discretionary immunity from personal liability that is granted to public officers for tortious acts and omissions — compare governmental immunity in this entry
qualified immunity
: immunity from civil liability that is conditioned or limited (as by a requirement of good faith or due care) specifically : official immunity from damages for acts that violate another's civil rights that is granted if it can be shown that the acts do not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would be aware — see also Civil Rights Act
sovereign immunity
: the absolute immunity of a sovereign government (as a state) from being sued — see also Federal Tort Claims Act

Note: For an action to be brought against a state or the federal government, sovereign immunity must be waived by the government.

transactional immunity \ tran-​ˈzak-​shə-​nəl-​, -​ˈsak-​ \
: immunity from criminal prosecution granted to a witness for an offense related to his or her compelled testimony — see also use immunity in this entry
use immunity
: immunity granted to a witness in a criminal case that prevents the use of the witness's compelled testimony against that witness in a criminal prosecution

Note: Transactional and use immunity are granted to preserve the constitutional protection against self-incrimination. The states grant either form of this immunity, while the federal government grants only use immunity. A witness with use immunity may still be prosecuted, but only based on evidence not gathered from the protected testimony.

2 : a usually statutory prohibition that excludes specific documents or information from discovery

called also discovery immunity

History and Etymology for immunity

Latin immunitas, from immunis exempt from public service, exempt, from in- non- + -munis (from munia services)

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