Immunity Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

You may have heard about the importance of having good immunity, but what is the meaning of immunity? Read on to find out.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

Thanks to the pandemic that took the world by storm, you’ve likely heard the term immunity more than you’d like to admit. That said, do you know what immunity actually means? Not to worry — we’ll tell you.

In this article, we’re exploring the trending word immunity to tell you everything you need to know, including its definition, origin, synonyms, antonyms, and more. If you’re interested in learning about immunity, keep reading.  

What Is the Definition of Immunity?

To begin our journey in understanding the word immunity, let’s take a look at a few definitions:

  • The Cambridge Dictionary defines immunity as a situation in which you are protected against disease or from legal action. 
  • According to the Collins Dictionary, immunity is the exemption or freedom from something burdensome or otherwise unpleasant as a legal obligation. 
  • In a different definition provided by the Collins Dictionary, the term immunity refers to protection or resistance against a specified disease — especially as a result of antibody formation. 

After reviewing the above definitions, we can conclude that immunity has more than one meaning. 

When used in regards to law, immunity is an officially granted exemption from legal proceedings. When used as a medical term, immunity refers to the protection that someone’s body gives them against a particular disease or illness. 

What Is the Origin of Immunity?

The noun immunity (meaning exempt from obligation) developed in the late 14th century from the Latin immunitatem (a nominative of immunitas), which itself is a synonym of immunity as we know it today. Immunity derives from Old French immunité (defined here as immunity from attack or inviolability) as well.

Delving further into the etymology of immunity we arrive at immunis — not paying a share, exempt or free; this comes from in (or “not”) and munis (which refers to performing services).

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Immunity?

Now that you understand what immunity means, let’s take a look at a few synonyms and antonyms, shall we? 

To refresh your memory from grade school, synonyms are words or phrases that have the same or almost the same meaning as another word. Antonyms are words or phrases that have the opposite meaning of another word. 

Synonyms of Immunity

  • Protection
  • Immune
  • Exemption
  • Release
  • Indemnity
  • Immunization
  • Resilience
  • Inoculation
  • Resistance
  • Non-susceptibility

Antonyms of Immunity

  • Exposure
  • Susceptibility
  • Vulnerability
  • Openness
  • Proneness
  • Liability

Associated Words That You Should Know

In order to help support you on your journey, we’ve gathered a handful of words that are frequently associated with immunity. Study the associated terms below and their definitions:

  • Innate Immunity — Natural immunity; the defense system with which you were born.
  • Adaptive Immunity — A type of immunity that develops over the course of our lives; active immunity/
  • Passive Immunity — A type of immunity that only lasts for a brief time period; immunity that is “borrowed” from another source.
  • Antigen — Any substance that causes the human body to make an immune response against itself.
  • Pandemic — The worldwide spread of a new disease.
  • Pathogen — An organism that can cause disease.
  • T Cells — A type of white blood cell that develops from stem cells and is a key part of the immune system.
  • B Cells — These white blood cells play a key part in our immunity as they produce antibodies.
  • Immunology — The study of the immune system in all types of organisms; oftenreferred to as allergists
  • Active Immunity — Occurs when your own immune system is responsible for providing protection against a pathogen
  • Passive Immunity — Occurs when you’re protected from a pathogen by immunity gained from someone else
  • Community Immunity — A type of protection that is indirect and occurs when people are protected by those around them 
  • Congressional Immunity — A type of protection against particular laws that are given to politicians
  • Herd Immunity —  AKA population immunity, herd immunity refers to the indirect protection from an infectious disease or illness that occurs when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through a previous infection
  • Sovereign Immunity — AKA crown immunity, this is a legal doctrine that prevents the government (or its political subdivisions, departments, and agencies) from being sued without its consent


Immunity simply means resistance or exemption. More often than not, it refers to the ability of an organism to resist a particular toxin or infection by the action of specific antibodies or sensitized white blood cells.  

In other words, if you’re protected against something, you have immunity to it. 


  1. Immunity definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. IMMUNITY definition | The Cambridge English Dictionary
  3. Immunity noun – Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced American Dictionary 
  4. Immunity synonyms Words and Phrases for Immunity | Power Thesaurus