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in·oc·u·late (ĭ-nŏkyə-lāt)
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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.]

in·ocu·lative adj.
in·ocu·lator n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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