im·mu·ni·ty | \i-ˈmyü-nə-tē \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for immunity


exemption, impunity

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 department began issuing ropes again soon after the fire but claimed immunity from legal claims. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Firefighters protect us. Who protects them?," 13 July 2018 This is not some sort of fringe view about a president’s immunity from being indicted. Jen Kirby, Vox, "7 legal experts on how Kavanaugh views executive power — and what it could mean for Mueller," 11 July 2018 And anyway, that court found, there is no clearly established right to hormone treatment, so all the officials were protected by qualified immunity. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Transgender inmate can sue over denial of hormone treatment, U.S. Appeals Court rules," 11 July 2018 Most adults have probably already had warts and developed a specific immunity to them. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "The Ultimate Guide to Every Type of Wart and How to Treat It," 25 June 2018 These are designed to continue immunity by building on the previous vaccines’ effectiveness. Dave Quinn,, "Critics Blast Kat Von D as She Reveals She Opposes Vaccinations and Plans to Raise Her Son Vegan," 8 June 2018 Domenick won immunity, and parted ways with his longtime friend Wendell, sending him into the fire-making challenge. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Survivor Ghost Island': Season 36 Winner Revealed," 23 May 2018 Leach ultimately lost that case after Texas Tech shielded itself from the suit by claiming sovereign immunity — a Texas law that essentially protects state institutions from being successfully sued for monetary damages. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "New lawsuit filed in Mike Leach's feud with Texas Tech," 7 Jan. 2018 Expect immunity analysis to play a central role in Brown’s lawsuit. Michael Mccann,, "Inside Sterling Brown’s compelling lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department and City of Milwaukee," 19 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of immunity

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for immunity

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about immunity

Phrases Related to immunity

diplomatic immunity

Statistics for immunity

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for immunity

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for immunity



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


im·mu·ni·ty | \i-ˈmyü-nə-tē \
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)


im·mu·ni·ty | \im-ˈyü-nət-ē \
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

Keep scrolling for more


im·mu·ni·ty | \i-ˈmyü-nə-tē \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on immunity

What made you want to look up immunity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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