inoculate (v.) Look up inoculate at
mid-15c., "implant a bud into a plant," from Latin inoculatus, past participle of inoculare "graft in, implant a bud or eye of one plant into another," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) + oculus "bud," originally "eye" (see eye (n.)). Meaning "implant germs of a disease to produce immunity" is from inoculation, originally in reference to smallpox, after 1799, often used in sense of "to vaccine inoculate." Related: Inoculated; inoculating.