inoculate

[15] Far-fetched as the connection may seem, inoculate actually comes ultimately from Latin oculus ‘eye’ (source of English ocular [16] and oculist [17]). By metaphorical extension oculus was applied to the ‘bud’ of a plant (much like the eye of a potato in English), and the verb inoculāre was coined to denote the grafting on of a bud or other plan part. That was how it was used when originally adopted into English (‘Peaches have their Season at May Kalends them to inoculate’, Palladius on Husbandry 1440), and the modern sense ‘introduce antigens into the body’ did not emerge before the early 18th century, based on the notion of ‘engrafting’ or ‘implanting’ an immunising virus into a person. It was originally used with reference to smallpox. => EYE, FEROCIOUS, OCULAR
* * *
   The verb was originally used for the grafting of a bud onto the trunk of a fruit tree. Hence its origin in Latin inoculare, from in-, 'in,' and oculus, 'bud' (literally 'little eye'). When you are inoculated against a disease, you are 'grafted' or injected with its causative agent.

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Inoculate — In*oc u*late, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Inoculated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Inoculating}.] [L. inoculatus, p. p. of inoculare to ingraft; pref. in in, on + oculare to furnish with eyes, fr. oculus an eye, also, a bud. See {Ocular}.] 1. To bud; to insert, or …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • inoculate — (v.) mid 15c., implant a bud into a plant, from L. inoculatus, pp. of inoculare graft in, implant, from in in (see IN (Cf. in ) (2)) + oculus bud, originally eye (see EYE (Cf. eye) (n.)). Meaning implant germs of a disease to produce …   Etymology dictionary

  • Inoculate — In*oc u*late, v. i. 1. To graft by inserting buds. [1913 Webster] 2. To communicate disease by inoculation. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • inoculate — index inject, protect Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • inoculate — *infuse, imbue, ingrain, leaven, suffuse Analogous words: impregnate, saturate, impenetrate, interpenetrate, *permeate, pervade: introduce, admit, *enter: instill, inculcate, *implant …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • inoculate — meaning ‘to inject with a vaccine’, is spelt with one n. See also vaccinate …   Modern English usage

  • inoculate — ► VERB 1) another term for VACCINATE(Cf. ↑vaccination). 2) introduce (cells or organisms) into a culture medium. DERIVATIVES inoculable adjective inoculation noun inoculator noun. ORIGIN …   English terms dictionary

  • inoculate — [i näk′yə lāt΄] vt. inoculated, inoculating [ME enoculaten < L inoculatus, pp. of inoculare, to engraft a bud in another plant < in , in + oculus, a bud, EYE] 1. a) to inject a serum, vaccine, etc. into (a living organism), esp. in order to …   English World dictionary

  • inoculate — v. (D; tr.) to inoculate against (to inoculate a dog against rabies) * * * [ɪ nɒkjʊleɪt] (D; tr.) to inoculate against (to inoculate a dog against rabies) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • inoculate — UK [ɪˈnɒkjʊleɪt] / US [ɪˈnɑkjəˌleɪt] verb [transitive] Word forms inoculate : present tense I/you/we/they inoculate he/she/it inoculates present participle inoculating past tense inoculated past participle inoculated medical to protect someone… …   English dictionary

  • inoculate — transitive verb ( lated; lating) Etymology: Middle English, to insert a bud in a plant, from Latin inoculatus, past participle of inoculare, from in + oculus eye, bud more at eye Date: 1721 1. a. to introduce a microorganism into < inoculate mice …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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