See more synonyms for inoculate on
verb (used with object), in·oc·u·lat·ed, in·oc·u·lat·ing.
  1. to implant (a disease agent or antigen) in a person, animal, or plant to produce a disease for study or to stimulate disease resistance.
  2. to affect or treat (a person, animal, or plant) in this manner.
  3. to introduce (microorganisms) into surroundings suited to their growth, as a culture medium.
  4. to imbue (a person), as with ideas.
  5. Metallurgy. to treat (molten metal) chemically to strengthen the microstructure.
verb (used without object), in·oc·u·lat·ed, in·oc·u·lat·ing.
  1. to perform inoculation.

Origin of inoculate

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin inoculātus past participle of inoculāre to graft by budding, implant, equivalent to in- in-2 + -oculā- (stem of -oculāre to graft, derivative of oculus eye, bud) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsin·oc·u·la·tive [ih-nok-yuh-ley-tiv, -yuh-luh-] /ɪˈnɒk yəˌleɪ tɪv, -yə lə-/, adjectivein·oc·u·la·tor, nounnon·in·oc·u·la·tive, adjectivere·in·oc·u·late, verb, re·in·oc·u·lat·ed, re·in·oc·u·lat·ing.self-in·oc·u·lat·ed, adjectiveun·in·oc·u·lat·ed, adjectiveun·in·oc·u·la·tive, adjective

Synonyms for inoculate

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for inoculate

vaccinate, inject, protect

Examples from the Web for inoculate

Contemporary Examples of inoculate

Historical Examples of inoculate

  • Can we not inoculate them with smallpox, or set bloodhounds to track them?

  • We inoculate in him a bad spirit whose effects then turn against us.

    The Simple Life

    Charles Wagner

  • But it was decided to divide them into two equal groups, and inoculate one group.

  • It costs considerable, but a little of it will inoculate a large area.

  • Formerly it was the custom to inoculate with small-pox to preserve from small-pox.

    Louis Pasteur

    Ren Vallery-Radot

British Dictionary definitions for inoculate


  1. to introduce (the causative agent of a disease) into the body of (a person or animal), in order to induce immunity
  2. (tr) to introduce (microorganisms, esp bacteria) into (a culture medium)
  3. (tr) to cause to be influenced or imbued, as with ideas or opinions
Derived Formsinoculation, nouninoculative, adjectiveinoculator, noun

Word Origin for inoculate

C15: from Latin inoculāre to implant, from in- ² + oculus eye, bud
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 inoculate

mid-15c., "implant a bud into a plant," from Latin inoculatus, past participle of inoculare "graft in, implant," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + oculus "bud," originally "eye" (see eye (n.)). Meaning "implant germs of a disease to produce immunity" first recorded (in inoculation) 1714, originally in reference to smallpox. After 1799, often used in sense of "to vaccine inoculate." Related: Inoculated; inoculating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

inoculate in Medicine


  1. To introduce a serum, a vaccine, or an antigenic substance into the body of a person or an animal, especially as a means to produce or boost immunity to a specific disease.
  2. To implant microorganisms or infectious material into or on a culture medium.
  3. To communicate a disease to a living organism by transferring its causative agent into the organism.
Related formsin•ocu•la′tive adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

inoculate in Science


  1. The introduction of a serum, a vaccine, or an antigenic substance into the body of a person or an animal, especially as a means to produce or boost immunity to a specific disease.
  2. The introduction of a microorganism or an agent of disease into an host organism or a growth medium.
Related formsinoculate verb
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.