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[vak-sin-ee-uh] /vækˈsɪn i ə/
a variant of the cowpox virus that became established in vaccines derived from cowpox-inoculated humans.
Pathology. an acute infection caused by inoculation with vaccinia virus as a prophylactic against smallpox, characterized by localized pustular eruptions.
1800-10; < New Latin; see vaccine, -ia
Related forms
vaccinial, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for vaccinia
  • For several hundred years, a type of pox virus known as vaccinia has been saving lives.
  • The smallpox vaccine isn't smallpox- it's a similar pox virus called vaccinia virus that is no where near as deadly.
  • The vaccine is vaccinia virus which is in the cowpox family.
British Dictionary definitions for vaccinia


a technical name for cowpox
Derived Forms
vaccinial, adjective
Word Origin
C19: New Latin, from Latin vaccīnus of cows
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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vaccinia in Medicine

vaccinia vac·cin·i·a (vāk-sĭn'ē-ə)

  1. See cowpox.

  2. An infection induced in humans by inoculation with the vaccinia virus in order to confer resistance to smallpox; it is usually limited to the site of inoculation. Also called primary reaction.

vac·cin'i·al 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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Encyclopedia Article for vaccinia


mildly eruptive disease of cows that when transmitted to otherwise healthy humans produces immunity to smallpox. The cowpox virus is closely related to variola, the causative virus of smallpox. The word vaccinia is sometimes used interchangeably with cowpox to refer to the human form of the disease, sometimes to refer to the causative virus, and sometimes to refer only to the artificially induced human form of cowpox.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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