serving to help or assist; auxiliary.
Medicine/Medical. utilizing drugs, radiation therapy, or other means of supplemental treatment following cancer surgery.
a person or thing that aids or helps.
anything that aids in removing or preventing a disease, especially a substance added to a prescription to aid the effect of the main ingredient.
Immunology. a substance admixed with an immunogen in order to elicit a more marked immune response.

1600–10; < Latin adjuvant- (stem of adjuvāns, present participle of adjuvāre), equivalent to ad- ad- + juv- (stem of juvāre to help) + -ant- -ant Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
adjuvant (ˈædʒəvənt)
1.  aiding or assisting
2.  something that aids or assists; auxiliary
3.  med a drug or other substance that enhances the activity of another
4.  immunol a substance that enhances the immune response stimulated by an antigen when injected with the antigen
[C17: from Latin adjuvāns, present participle of adjuvāre, from juvāre to help]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

adjuvant ad·ju·vant (āj'ə-vənt)

  1. A pharmacological agent added to a drug, predictably affecting the action of the drug's active ingredient.

  2. An immunological vehicle for enhancing antigenicity, such as a water-in-oil emulsion in which antigen solution is emulsified in mineral oil. Also called immunoadjuvant.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


substance that enhances the effect of a particular medical treatment. Administration of one drug may enhance the effect of another. In anesthesia, for example, sedative drugs are customarily given before an operation to reduce the quantity of anesthetic drug needed. In immunology an adjuvant is a substance that increases the body's reaction to a foreign substance. The reaction to diphtheria toxoid-modified form of the toxin, or poisonous substance, produced by the organism that causes diphtheria-is increased, for example, if the toxoid is adsorbed (attached) to particles of aluminum hydroxide or aluminum phosphate.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Q: I've heard researchers may need to use an immune booster, called an
  adjuvant, for flu vaccine.
With the tetanus shot, the diptheria toxoid added acts as an adjuvant.
For example, they have spent eight decades adding alum to vaccines as what is
  known as an adjuvant.
Dr Rappuoli says that if an adjuvant is used, half the normal flu dose would
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