Word of the Day : September 15, 2017
inoculate \ih-NAHK-yuh-layt\ verb
1 a : to introduce a microorganism into
b : to introduce (something, such as a microorganism) into a suitable situation for growth
c : to introduce immunologically active material (such as an antibody or antigen) into especially in order to treat or prevent a disease
2 : to introduce something into the mind of
3 : to protect as if by inoculation
In 1796, the English physician Edward Jenner discovered that inoculating people with cowpox could provide immunity against smallpox.
"Typically, ambrosia beetles have a symbiotic relationship with a fungus the beetles carry as spores on their bodies. When the beetles bore into the sapwood of the host tree, the galleries formed from the beetle boring are inoculated with the fungal spores." — Les Harrison, The Wakulla News (Crawfordville, Florida), 12 July 2017
Did You Know?
If you think you see a connection between inoculate and ocular ("of or relating to the eye"), you are not mistaken—both words look back to oculus, the Latin word for "eye." But what does the eye have to do with inoculation? Our answer lies in the original use of inoculate in Middle English: "to insert a bud in a plant for propagation." Latin oculus was sometimes applied to things that were seen to resemble eyes, and one such thing was the bud of a plant. Inoculate was later applied to other forms of engrafting or implanting, including the introduction of vaccines as a preventative against disease.
Aired September 15, 2017
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