Innocuous vs Inoculate - What's the difference?

innocuous | inoculate |

As an adjective innocuous

is harmless; producing no ill effect.

As a verb inoculate is

(immunology) to introduce an antigenic substance or vaccine into the body, as to produce immunity to a specific disease.




(en adjective)
  • Harmless; producing no ill effect.
  • * 1892 , , A Footnote to History , ch. 9:
  • The shells fell for the most part innocuous ; an eyewitness saw children at play beside the flaming houses; not a soul was injured.
  • * 1910 , , The Lair of the White Worm , ch. 11:
  • Other things, too, there were, not less deadly though seemingly innocuous —dried fungi, traps intended for birds, beasts, fishes, reptiles, and insects.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2011 , date=September 2 , author= , title=Wales 2-1 Montenegro , work=BBC citation , page= , passage=As the half closed Bale and Ledley both went close with good efforts, but Bellamy picked up a yellow card for an innocuous challenge that also rules the new Liverpool man out of the trip to Wembley.}}
  • Inoffensive; unprovocative; not exceptional.
  • * 1893 , , Mrs. Falchion , ch. 12:
  • Ruth Devlin announced that the song must wait, though it appeared to be innocuous and child-like in its sentiments.
  • * 1910 , , The Intrusion of Jimmy , ch. 28:
  • He sat down, and lighted a cigarette, casting about the while for an innocuous topic of conversation.


    * innoxious, nonpoisonous, nontoxic * (inoffensive) uncontroversial


    * nocuous * noxious * harmful * poisonous * toxic

    Derived terms

    * innocuity * innocuously * innocuousness



    Alternative forms

    * innoculate


  • (immunology) To introduce an antigenic substance or vaccine into the body, as to produce immunity to a specific disease.
  • *
  • (by extension) To safeguard or protect something as if by inoculation.
  • To add one substance to another; to spike.
  • The culture medium was inoculated with selenium to investigate the rate of uptake.
  • To graft by inserting buds.
  • to inoculate the bud of one tree or plant into another
    to inoculate a tree
  • *
  • (figurative) To introduce into the mind (used especially of harmful ideas or principles); to imbue.
  • to inoculate someone with treason or infidelity
  • *
  • See also

    * immunize / immunise * vaccinate