tr.v. in·oc·u·lat·ed, in·oc·u·lat·ing, in·oc·u·lates
1. To introduce a serum, vaccine, or antigenic substance into (the body of a person or animal), especially to produce or boost immunity to a specific disease.
2. To communicate a disease to (a living organism) by transferring its causative agent into the organism.
3. To implant microorganisms or infectious material into (a culture medium).
4. To safeguard as if by inoculation; protect: "A lapsed idealist, [she] has been inoculated against life's disappointments by her own skepticism" (John Lahr).
5. To introduce an idea or attitude into the mind of: "Young people ... are inoculated with the fervor, and are heard about the streets, singing the temperance songs" (Walt Whitman).
[Middle English inoculaten, to graft a scion, from Latin inoculāre, inoculāt- : in-, in; see IN-2 + oculus, eye, bud; see okw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.