inoculate

verb

in·​oc·​u·​late i-ˈnä-kyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce inoculate (audio)
inoculated; inoculating

transitive verb

1
a
: to introduce immunologically active material (such as an antibody or antigen) into especially in order to treat or prevent a disease
inoculate children against diphtheria
b
: to introduce a microorganism into
inoculate mice with anthrax
beans inoculated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria
c
: to introduce (something, such as a microorganism) into a suitable situation for growth
2
: to protect as if by inoculation
3
: to introduce something into the mind of
inoculative adjective
inoculator noun

Did you know?

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 of inoculate in Middle English: "to insert a bud in a plant for propagation." 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.

Choose the Right Synonym for inoculate

infuse, suffuse, imbue, ingrain, inoculate, leaven mean to introduce one thing into another so as to affect it throughout.

infuse implies a pouring in of something that gives new life or significance.

new members infused enthusiasm into the club

suffuse implies a spreading through of something that gives an unusual color or quality.

a room suffused with light

imbue implies the introduction of a quality that fills and permeates the whole being.

imbue students with intellectual curiosity

ingrain, used only in the passive or past participle, suggests the deep implanting of a quality or trait.

clung to ingrained habits

inoculate implies an imbuing or implanting with a germinal idea and often suggests stealth or subtlety.

an electorate inoculated with dangerous ideas

leaven implies introducing something that enlivens, tempers, or markedly alters the total quality.

a serious play leavened with comic moments

Examples of inoculate in a Sentence

inoculated them with the idea that the individual can always make a difference in this world
Recent Examples on the Web That inoculated it from blame for the chronic economic malaise and disaffection associated with a string of governments from the left and right. Lee Hockstader, Washington Post, 8 July 2024 In a new study scientists at the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture pasteurized raw milk inoculated with high concentrations of the pathogen and found that the treatment inactivated it in all samples. Lauren J. Young, Scientific American, 2 July 2024 But when its plant home burns in a fire, the fungus colonizes the soil and then fruits to spread its spores, which, in turn, inoculate new plants and start the cycle again. The Editors, JSTOR Daily, 22 May 2024 Putin has also gone to great lengths to inoculate himself against another threat: elite defection. Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Foreign Affairs, 2 Mar. 2022 See all Example Sentences for inoculate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inoculate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, to insert a bud in a plant, from Latin inoculatus, past participle of inoculare, from in- + oculus eye, bud — more at eye

First Known Use

1721, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of inoculate was in 1721

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Dictionary Entries Near inoculate

Cite this Entry

“Inoculate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inoculate. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

inoculate

verb
in·​oc·​u·​late in-ˈäk-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce inoculate (audio)
inoculated; inoculating
1
: to introduce a microscopic living thing into
beans inoculated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria
2
: to introduce material (as a vaccine) into the body especially by injection to protect against or treat a disease
inoculate children against the measles
inoculator noun

Medical Definition

inoculate

verb
in·​oc·​u·​late in-ˈäk-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce inoculate (audio)
inoculated; inoculating

transitive verb

1
: to communicate a disease to (an organism) by inserting its causative agent into the body
12 mice inoculated with anthrax
2
a
: to introduce microorganisms or viruses onto or into (an organism, substrate, or culture medium)
inoculated a rat with bacteria
b
: to introduce (as a microorganism or antiserum) into an organism or onto a culture medium
inoculate a pure culture of bacteria into a healthy host
3
: to introduce immunologically active material (as an antibody or antigen) into especially in order to treat or prevent a disease
inoculate children against diphtheria

intransitive verb

: to introduce microorganisms, vaccines, or sera by inoculation

More from Merriam-Webster on inoculate

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