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[an-ti-bod-ee] /ˈæn tɪˌbɒd i/
noun, plural antibodies.
any of numerous Y -shaped protein molecules produced by B cells as a primary immune defense, each molecule and its clones having a unique binding site that can combine with the complementary site of a foreign antigen, as on a virus or bacterium, thereby disabling the antigen and signaling other immune defenses.
Abbreviation: Ab.
antibodies of a particular type collectively.
Also called immunoglobulin.
1895-1900; anti- + body
Can be confused
antibody, anybody (see usage note at anybody) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for antibodies
  • When that next puff does come, these antibodies intercept the nicotine molecules before they cross into the brain.
  • Those initial speculations were confirmed by applying antibodies to the tissue that are known to react with proteins.
  • Adult cobras are milked every few weeks, and small doses of venom are injected into horses, which develop antibodies to it.
  • The immune system works, in part, by making antibodies that are specific to particular sorts of hostile molecule.
  • Whether it protects sheep has not yet been tested, although it certainly causes them to produce the appropriate antibodies.
  • They found that it released antibodies to fight those viruses in exactly the way that natural marrow would.
  • But, if you are infected with a flu virus whose surface proteins have changed, your antibodies won't recognize them fully.
  • Those antibodies can be helpful in fighting off future bouts of that year's flu.
  • The antibodies generated in that process protect them against future infection.
  • By obliterating antibodies, proteins produced by our immune systems, the molecular machine could also reduce inflammation.
British Dictionary definitions for antibodies


noun (pl) -bodies
any of various proteins produced in the blood in response to the presence of an antigen. By becoming attached to antigens on infectious organisms antibodies can render them harmless or cause them to be destroyed See also immunoglobulin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for antibodies



"substance developed in blood as an antitoxin," 1901, a hybrid formed from anti- "against" + body. Probably a translation of German Antikörper, condensed from a phrase such as anti-toxisches Körper "anti-toxic body."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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antibodies in Medicine

antibody an·ti·bod·y (ān'tĭ-bŏd'ē)

  1. Abbr. Ab A protein substance produced in the blood or tissues in response to a specific antigen, such as a bacterium or a toxin, that destroys or weakens bacteria and neutralizes organic poisons, thus forming the basis of immunity.

  2. An immunoglobulin present in the blood serum or body fluids as a result of antigenic stimulus and interacting only with the antigen that induced it or with an antigen closely related to it.

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

Any of numerous proteins produced by B lymphocytes in response to the presence of specific foreign antigens, including microorganisms and toxins. Antibodies consist of two pairs of polypeptide chains, called heavy chains and light chains, that are arranged in a Y-shape. The two tips of the Y are the regions that bind to antigens and deactivate them. Also called immunoglobulin.

Our Living Language  : Like other vertebrates, humans possess an effective immune system that uses antibodies to fight bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. Antibodies are complex, Y-shaped protein molecules. The immune system's B lymphocytes, which are produced by the bone marrow, develop into plasma cells that can generate a huge variety of antibodies, each one capable of combining with and destroying an antigen, a foreign molecule. Antibodies react to very specific characteristics of different antigens, binding them to the top ends of their Y formation. Once the antibody and antigen combine, the antibodies deactivate the antigen or lead it to macrophages(a kind of white blood cell) that ingest and destroy it. High numbers of a particular antibody may persist for months after an invasion, eventually diminishing. However, the B cells can quickly manufacture more of the same antibody if exposure to the antigen recurs. Vaccines work by "training" B cells to recognize and react quickly to potential disease molecules.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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antibodies in Culture
antibodies [(an-ti-bod-eez)]

Proteins in the blood that are produced by the body in response to specific antigens (such as bacteria). (See immune system.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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