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[ih-nok-yuh-leyt] /ɪˈnɒk yəˌleɪt/
verb (used with object), inoculated, inoculating.
to implant (a disease agent or antigen) in a person, animal, or plant to produce a disease for study or to stimulate disease resistance.
to affect or treat (a person, animal, or plant) in this manner.
to introduce (microorganisms) into surroundings suited to their growth, as a culture medium.
to imbue (a person), as with ideas.
Metallurgy. to treat (molten metal) chemically to strengthen the microstructure.
verb (used without object), inoculated, inoculating.
to perform inoculation.
Origin of inoculate
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin inoculātus past participle of inoculāre to graft by budding, implant, equivalent to in- in-2 + -oculā- (stem of -oculāre to graft, derivative of oculus eye, bud) + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
[ih-nok-yuh-ley-tiv, -yuh-luh-] /ɪˈnɒk yəˌleɪ tɪv, -yə lə-/ (Show IPA),
inoculator, noun
noninoculative, adjective
reinoculate, verb, reinoculated, reinoculating.
self-inoculated, adjective
uninoculated, adjective
uninoculative, adjective
4. indoctrinate, infuse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for inoculating
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I can hear her highpitched complaining voice bargaining with me over the cost of inoculating her lawn.

  • He has disarmed it of its terrour at Muack, by inoculating eighty of his people.

  • One of the doctors had been in Albania, on an inoculating expedition.

  • I have succeeded in inoculating him with hopes of more fortunate chances in future.

    Alone Marion Harland
  • These instruments are used for inoculating culture tubes and preparing specimens for microscopical examination.

  • They have never succeeded in inoculating it on one man from another.

  • Scientific farmers have learned the value of inoculating their soil with these germs.

    Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study Ontario Ministry of Education
  • They are giving themselves a sad malady; they are inoculating themselves with the past.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
  • A hen was taken, and, after inoculating it with splenic fever blood, it was placed with its feet in water at 25 degrees.

    Louis Pasteur Ren Vallery-Radot
British Dictionary definitions for inoculating


to introduce (the causative agent of a disease) into the body of (a person or animal), in order to induce immunity
(transitive) to introduce (microorganisms, esp bacteria) into (a culture medium)
(transitive) to cause to be influenced or imbued, as with ideas or opinions
Derived Forms
inoculation, noun
inoculative, adjective
inoculator, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin inoculāre to implant, from in-² + oculus eye, bud
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 inoculating



mid-15c., "implant a bud into a plant," from Latin inoculatus, past participle of inoculare "graft in, implant," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + oculus "bud," originally "eye" (see eye (n.)). Meaning "implant germs of a disease to produce immunity" first recorded (in inoculation) 1714, originally in reference to smallpox. After 1799, often used in sense of "to vaccine inoculate." Related: Inoculated; inoculating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inoculating in Medicine

inoculate in·oc·u·late (ĭ-nŏk'yə-lāt')
v. in·oc·u·lat·ed, in·oc·u·lat·ing, in·oc·u·lates

  1. To introduce a serum, a vaccine, or an antigenic substance into the body of a person or an animal, especially as a means to produce or boost immunity to a specific disease.

  2. To implant microorganisms or infectious material into or on a culture medium.

  3. To communicate a disease to a living organism by transferring its causative agent into the organism.

in·oc'u·la'tive adj.
in·oc'u·la'tor n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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