[ vak-suh-neyt ]
/ 藞v忙k s蓹藢ne瑟t /
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See synonyms for: vaccinate / vaccinated on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), vac路ci路nat路ed, vac路ci路nat路ing.
to inoculate with the vaccine of cowpox so as to render the subject immune to smallpox.
to inoculate with the modified virus of any of various other diseases, as a preventive measure.
verb (used without object), vac路ci路nat路ed, vac路ci路nat路ing.
to perform or practice vaccination.
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Which of the following words describes 鈥渟ky blue鈥?
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Origin of vaccinate

First recorded in 1800鈥10; back formation from vaccination


pre路vac路ci路nate, verb (used with object), pre路vac路ci路nat路ed, pre路vac路ci路nat路ing.re路vac路ci路nate, verb (used with object), re路vac路ci路nat路ed, re路vac路ci路nat路ing.un路vac路ci路nat路ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2021


What鈥檚 the difference between vaccinate, inoculate, and immunize?

In the context of medicine, vaccinate, inoculate, and immunize are often used in overlapping ways, and for good reason鈥攖hey all involve introducing a substance (especially a vaccine) into a person鈥檚 body with the goal of preventing them from getting a particular disease.

Vaccinate is the most specific of the three terms, because it always involves introducing a vaccine, which usually consists of a small amount of a killed, weakened, or otherwise modified version of a disease (such as a virus or bacterium). While inoculate has other meanings outside the context of medicine, in modern healthcare it鈥檚 typically used interchangeably with vaccinate (though it鈥檚 used less commonly).

Immunize is slightly different鈥攊t means to provide immunity from a specific disease. While the goal of vaccinating someone is often to immunize them, not all vaccines provide permanent immunity. Some vaccines cause the body to become immune to a disease for a very long time, while others only lead to a temporary immunity, after which the body 鈥渇orgets鈥 how to make certain antibodies. In these cases, a booster shot or dose is often required, consisting of a follow-up vaccination to boost or renew the immunity gained from the earlier vaccination.

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between vaccinate, inoculate, and immunize.

Quiz yourself on vaccinate vs. inoculate vs. immunize!

True or False?

Vaccinate, inoculate, and immunize can be correctly used in some overlapping ways.

How to use vaccinate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vaccinate

/ (藞v忙ks瑟藢ne瑟t) /

to inoculate (a person) with a vaccine so as to produce immunity against a specific disease

Derived forms of vaccinate

vaccinator, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for vaccinate

[ v膬ks蓹-n膩t鈥 ]

To inoculate with a vaccine in order to produce immunity to an infectious disease such as diphtheria or typhus.

Other words from vaccinate

vacci鈥a鈥瞭or n.
The American Heritage庐 Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright 漏 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.