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[an-ti-juh n, -jen] /ˈæn tɪ dʒən, -ˌdʒɛn/
Immunology. any substance that can stimulate the production of antibodies and combine specifically with them.
Pharmacology. any commercial substance that, when injected or absorbed into animal tissues, stimulates the production of antibodies.
antigens of a particular type collectively.
Origin of antigen
1905-10; anti(body) + -gen
Related forms
[an-ti-jen-ik] /ˌæn tɪˈdʒɛn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
antigenically, adverb
[an-ti-juh-nis-i-tee] /ˌæn tɪ dʒəˈnɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for antigen
  • The rotavirus antigen test detects rotavirus in the feces.
  • One gram of the antigen can supply millions of vaccine shots.
  • Humoral immune responses result in the production of antibodies that are specific to a foreign antigen.
  • Whether the antigen is introduced via injection vs natural exposure is irrelevant.
  • The sample is sent to a lab, where it is mixed with latex beads coated with a specific antibody or antigen.
  • Instead, he noted discrepancies in the matches and concluded that he had found a new antigen system.
  • The first two tests were performed by digital rectal examination and then by prostate specific antigen testing.
  • Then they injected both groups of mice with an antigen, a substance that attracts the attention of the immune system.
  • The idea, then, is to use a-lactalbumin as an antigen-a molecule that attracts the attention of the immune system.
  • The only thing that changes each year is the antigen used.
British Dictionary definitions for antigen


/ˈæntɪdʒən; -ˌdʒɛn/
a substance that stimulates the production of antibodies
Derived Forms
antigenic, adjective
antigenically, adverb
Word Origin
C20: from anti(body) + -gen
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 antigen

"substance that causes production of an antibody," 1908, from German Antigen, from French antigène (1899), from anti- (see anti-) + Greek -gen (see -gen).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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antigen in Medicine

antigen an·ti·gen (ān'tĭ-jən)
Any of various substances, including toxins, bacteria, and the cells of transplanted organs, that when introduced into the body stimulate the production of antibodies. Also called allergen, immunogen.

an'ti·gen'ic (-jěn'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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antigen in Science
A substance that stimulates the production of an antibody when introduced into the body. Antigens include toxins, bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances. Compare antibody. See Note at blood type.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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