If you inoculate someone, you try to make him immune to a disease by injecting a little dose of it, so his body can make antibodies to fight it off. When you were little you probably got a vaccine to inoculate you against smallpox.

When inoculate first came into English in the 15th century, it referred to inserting a bud onto another plant. Now you’re more likely to hear it used to describe the process of building up immunity to a disease by giving someone a vaccine, which also involves the insertion of foreign matter. You can also inoculate someone metaphorically, with ideas.

Definitions of inoculate

v impregnate with the virus or germ of a disease in order to render immune

Type of:
fertilize and cause to grow

v perform vaccinations or produce immunity in by inoculation

immunise, immunize, vaccinate
Type of:
inject, shoot
give an injection to

v introduce a microorganism into

inoculate with microorganisms
Type of:
enclose, inclose, insert, introduce, put in, stick in

v introduce an idea or attitude into the mind of

“My teachers inoculated me with their beliefs”
Type of:
impart knowledge of some fact, state or affairs, or event to

v insert a bud for propagation

Type of:
cause to propagate, as by grafting or layering

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