[ im-yuh-noh-suh-pres, ih-myoo- ]
/ ˌɪm yə noʊ səˈprɛs, ɪˌmyu- /
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verb (used with or without object)
to suppress the normal immune response.
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Origin of immunosuppress

1965–70; back formation from immunosuppression or immunosuppressive
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does immunosuppress mean?

Immunosuppress is a verb that means to suppress or weaken the body’s immune system,  as in The surgeon immunosuppressed the patient so the body wouldn’t reject the transplanted kidney.

The body’s immune system is a complex network that protects the body from foreign substances, destroys infections and harmful cells, and removes cellular debris, or the waste that’s left after a cell dies.

Because the immune system is the body’s defense against illness, when it is suppressed, you’re more likely to get an infection. A doctor might immunosuppress a patient, though, when the patient is to get a donated organ, for example. By immunosuppressing the patient, the body is more likely to accept the new organ.

Example: The doctor was faced with a tough decision about whether to immunosuppress the patient before the surgery.

Where does immunosuppress come from?

The first records of immunosuppress come from around 1965. It is thought to be a back formation of either immunosuppression or immunosuppressive. All of these words come from a combination of the stem immuno-, meaning “immunity,” and suppression, a noun that refers to the act of putting an end to or severely weakening something.

The most common reason a doctor may need to immunosuppress is to prevent the body from rejecting transplanted organs or bone marrow. If a patient is not immunosuppressed, it is possible that the immune system will believe the transplanted organs to be foreign threats that need to be attacked and eliminated.

It’s a very bad situation when your immune system causes your body to attack its own organs. In this instance, the immune system is a little too good at its job. Some transplant patients will need to take immunosuppressive medication for a long time.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to immunosuppress?

What are some words that share a root or word element with immunosuppress

What are some words that often get used in discussing immunosuppress?

How is immunosuppress used in real life?

Immunosuppress is not a common word and is most likely to be used by doctors, medical students, or patients that take immunosuppressive medication.

Try using immunosuppress!

True or False?

The word immunosuppress means to suppress or weaken the circulatory system.