- any of numerous Y-shaped protein molecules produced by B cells as a primary immune defense, each molecule and its clones having a unique binding site that can combine with the complementary site of a foreign antigen, as on a virus or bacterium, thereby disabling the antigen and signaling other immune defenses. Abbreviation: Ab
- antibodies of a particular type collectively.
Origin of antibody
Also called immunoglobulin.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for antibodies
Four weeks after the injections, all 20 of the participants had developed the antibodies needed to stave off the infection.The Race for the Ebola Vaccine
January 7, 2015
According to those who witnessed the transfusion, the effects of the antibodies were seemingly evident within hours.Blood Is Ebola’s Weapon and Weakness
October 26, 2014
Antibodies are only one part of our response to an illness—in other conditions antibodies can make a disease worse.Ebola Experts Warn of an African ‘Apocalypse’
August 7, 2014
People rebuilding their lives after prison are “the healing agents, the antibodies,” he said.Paul Ryan’s Plan: Rebooting Compassionate Conservatism
July 24, 2014
Such a low default setting is necessary before birth—when the mother is providing the fetus with her own antibodies.More Germs, Less Asthma? Study Shows Babies Exposed to Bacteria and Dander at Less Risk
June 6, 2014
According to this theory the manner of formation of all antibodies is the same.
With this exception these antibodies are chiefly of theoretical interest.
"Well, these people don't seem to be making any antibodies at all," Tiger said.Star Surgeon
The formation of antibodies has even been explained on this basis by Weiggert and Ehrlich in their side-chain theory.The Organism as a Whole
Experimentally, also, it appears that antibodies (agglutinins) are produced by the vaccine (and modifications thereof).Plague
Thomas Wright Jackson
- any of various proteins produced in the blood in response to the presence of an antigen. By becoming attached to antigens on infectious organisms antibodies can render them harmless or cause them to be destroyedSee also immunoglobulin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for antibodies
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A protein substance produced in the blood or tissues in response to a specific antigen, such as a bacterium or a toxin, that destroys or weakens bacteria and neutralizes organic poisons, thus forming the basis of immunity.
- An immunoglobulin present in the blood serum or body fluids as a result of antigenic stimulus and interacting only with the antigen that induced it or with an antigen closely related to it.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Any of numerous proteins produced by B lymphocytes in response to the presence of specific foreign antigens, including microorganisms and toxins. Antibodies consist of two pairs of polypeptide chains, called heavy chains and light chains, that are arranged in a Y-shape. The two tips of the Y are the regions that bind to antigens and deactivate them. Also called immunoglobulin
A Closer Look: Like other vertebrates, humans possess an effective immune system that uses antibodies to fight bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. Antibodies are complex, Y-shaped protein molecules. The immune system's B lymphocytes, which are produced by the bone marrow, develop into plasma cells that can generate a huge variety of antibodies, each one capable of combining with and destroying an antigen, a foreign molecule. Antibodies react to very specific characteristics of different antigens, binding them to the top ends of their Y formation. Once the antibody and antigen combine, the antibodies deactivate the antigen or lead it to macrophages(a kind of white blood cell) that ingest and destroy it. High numbers of a particular antibody may persist for months after an invasion, eventually diminishing. However, the B cells can quickly manufacture more of the same antibody if exposure to the antigen recurs. Vaccines work by training B cells to recognize and react quickly to potential disease molecules.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.