noun, plural im·mu·ni·ties.
  1. the state of being immune from or insusceptible to a particular disease or the like.
  2. the condition that permits either natural or acquired resistance to disease.
  3. the ability of a cell to react immunologically in the presence of an antigen.
  4. exemption from any natural or usual liability.
  5. exemption from obligation, service, duty, or liability to taxation, jurisdiction, etc.: The ambassador claimed diplomatic immunity when they arrested him for reckless driving.
  6. Law. exemption from criminal prosecution or legal liability or punishment on certain conditions.
  7. special privilege.
  8. Ecclesiastical.
    1. the exemption of ecclesiastical persons and things from secular or civil liabilities, duties, and burdens.
    2. a particular exemption of this kind.

Origin of immunity

1350–1400; Middle English immunite < Latin immūnitās. See immune, -ity
Related formshy·per·im·mu·ni·ty, nounnon·im·mu·ni·ty, noun, plural non·im·mu·ni·ties.self-im·mu·ni·ty, noun, plural self·-im·mu·ni·ties.
Can be confusedimmunity impunity

Synonyms for immunity

4. See exemption. 5. franchise, license, liberty, prerogative.

Antonyms for immunity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for self-immunity


noun plural -ties
  1. the ability of an organism to resist disease, either through the activities of specialized blood cells or antibodies produced by them in response to natural exposure or inoculation (active immunity) or by the injection of antiserum or the transfer of antibodies from a mother to her baby via the placenta or breast milk (passive immunity)See also acquired immunity, natural immunity
  2. freedom from obligation or duty, esp exemption from tax, duty, legal liability, etc
  3. any special privilege granting immunity
  4. the exemption of ecclesiastical persons or property from various civil obligations or liabilities
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 self-immunity



late 14c., "exempt from service or obligation," from Old French immunité and directly from Latin immunitatem (nominative immunitas) "exemption from performing public service or charge," from immunis "exempt, free," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + munis "performing services" (cf. municipal), from PIE *moi-n-es-, suffixed form of root *mei- "to change" (see mutable). Medical sense "protection from disease" is 1879, from French or German.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

self-immunity in Medicine


  1. The quality or condition of being immune.
  2. Inherited, acquired, or induced resistance to infection by a specific pathogen.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

self-immunity in Science


  1. The protection of the body from a disease caused by an infectious agent, such as a bacterium or virus. Immunity may be natural (that is, inherited) or acquired. See also acquired immunity.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

self-immunity in Culture


The ability of the body to resist or fight off infection and disease.

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.