in·​oc·​u·​lum i-ˈnä-kyə-ləm How to pronounce inoculum (audio)
plural inocula i-ˈnä-kyə-lə How to pronounce inoculum (audio)
: material used for inoculation

Examples of inoculum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On the other hand ... sometimes a massive inoculum can kill an otherwise healthy person. Holly Yan, CNN, 12 Apr. 2021 But in the grand scheme of history, it may also be seen as a very costly inoculum against future events. Evan Ratliff, Wired, 16 June 2020 The size of the inoculum determines the likelihood and severity of infection in respiratory viral infections. WSJ, 31 May 2020 Vaccination with live virus was a tightrope walk: if the amount of viral inoculum in the powder was too great, the child would succumb to a full-fledged version of the disease—a disaster that occurred perhaps one in a hundred times. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The New Yorker, 26 Mar. 2020 Intimate and casual contact with a newborn by infected mother does transmit the inoculum, the droplets exhaled, coughed or sneezed. NBC News, 19 Mar. 2020 Good sanitation involves removal of all tomato plant parts at the end of the growing season to remove most of the inoculum. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 8 June 2018

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

Word History


New Latin, from Latin inoculare

First Known Use

1902, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inoculum was in 1902

Dictionary Entries Near inoculum

Cite this Entry

“Inoculum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


in·​oc·​u·​lum in-ˈäk-yə-ləm How to pronounce inoculum (audio)
plural inocula -lə How to pronounce inoculum (audio)
: material used for inoculation
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