Definition of inoculate
- inoculate mice with anthrax
- beans inoculated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria
- inoculate children against diphtheria
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inoculated them with the idea that the individual can always make a difference in this world
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inoculate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
If you think you see a connection between "inoculate" and "ocular" ("of or relating to the eye"), you are not mistaken - both words look back to "oculus," the Latin word for "eye." But what does the eye have to do with inoculation? Our answer lies in the original use in English of "inoculate" in Middle English: "to insert a bud in a plant." Latin oculus was sometimes applied to things that were seen to resemble eyes, and one such thing was the bud of a plant. "Inoculate" was later applied to other forms of engrafting or implanting, including the introduction of vaccines as a preventative against disease.
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