[ an-ti-juhn ]
See synonyms for antigen on
  1. Immunology. any substance, as a protein, carbohydrate, etc., that, on entering the body, can stimulate an immune response and combine with a specific antibody or T cell receptor having a matching molecular structure.

  2. Pharmacology. any commercial substance, usually synthetic, that stimulates the production of antibodies when injected or absorbed into animal tissues.

  1. antigens of a particular type collectively.

Compare Meanings

Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.

Origin of antigen

First recorded in 1905–10; anti(body) + -gen

Other words from antigen

  • an·ti·gen·ic [an-ti-jen-ik], /ˌæn tɪˈdʒɛn ɪk/, adjective
  • an·ti·gen·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • an·ti·ge·nic·i·ty [an-ti-juh-nis-i-tee], /ˌæn tɪ dʒəˈnɪs ɪ ti/, noun

Words Nearby antigen Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use antigen in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for antigen


/ (ˈæntɪdʒən, -ˌdʒɛn) /

  1. a substance that stimulates the production of antibodies

Origin of antigen

C20: from anti (body) + -gen

Derived forms of antigen

  • antigenic, adjective
  • antigenically, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for antigen


[ ăntĭ-jən ]

  1. A substance that stimulates the production of an antibody when introduced into the body. Antigens include toxins, bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances. Compare antibody. See Note at blood type.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.