Printable Version
Pronunciation: im-myun Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Highly resistant or not susceptible to something harmful, such as an illness or poison. 2. Unaffected by, protected from. 3. Exempt from, legally protected from.

Notes: Here is a family of words we still hear a lot amidst the pandemic. The noun from this adjective is immunity and the verb, immunize with all the -ize relatives: immunization, immunizer, etc. Immunifacient "producing immunity" is rarely used anymore; it has been replaced by immunizing.

In Play: Today's Good Word is very topical here in 2021: "The governments around the world are now focused on making everyone immune to the coronavirus by the fall of 2021." But other types of immunities are also quite popular: "June McBride seemed immune to the immense charm of Phil Anders and resisted all his advances.

Word History: English picked up this Good Word from Latin immunis "exempt from service, untaxed", a word made up of in- "not" + munus "a service, office, duty", a word whose root also may be seen in municipalis "related to a town", whence English municipal. Munus comes from PIE mei-/moi- "to change" with the suffix -n. With the same suffix it emerged in Latin communis "common, public, general", which English borrowed directly as commune and via French as common. With the suffix -t, it emerged in Latin mutare "to change" that we see in the English borrowings mutate, commute, and transmute. (Tomasz Kowaltowski thought it was about time to look into today's most relevant Good Word; we should all now thank him for his thought and action.)

Dr. Goodword,

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