n. pl. im·mu·ni·ties
1. The quality or condition of being immune: “His above-average size during adolescence did not purchase immunity from the depredations of school bullies” (Stephen S. Hall).
2. Immunology Inherited, acquired, or induced resistance to infection by a specific pathogen.
a. Exemption from certain generally applicable requirements of law or from certain liabilities, granted to special groups of people to facilitate the performance of their public functions: diplomatic immunity; judicial immunity.
b. Exemption from prosecution granted to a witness to compel that witness to give potentially self-incriminating testimony that otherwise could not be compelled because of the constitutional right against self-incrimination.
c. Exemption from being sued: sovereign immunity; charitable immunity.
4. A condition conferred upon a contestant that prevents that contestant from being eliminated from a competition for a certain time period: The winner of the challenge was given immunity for the following challenge.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.