The Adjective is “Immune”
I recently saw the word “immuned” used as an adjective in place of immune. A web search shows that this nonstandard use is proliferating.
Am I Immuned to Herpes??
Muslims immuned from swine flu symptoms
Breast cancer awareness month 2009: Men are not immuned
How can I be immuned to getting strep?
My husband is in the hospital, he does drugs, lowered immuned system,?
Merriam-Webster provides an entry for “immuned” as an adjective, with the notation “used chiefly of domestic animals” It does not, however, have an entry for a verb that might have produced the form “immuned.” So far the unfortunate coinage has not found its way into the pages of the OED.
The adjective immune is a back formation of the noun immunity.
immunity (late 14th century): a legal term meaning “exempt from service or obligation”
immune (mid-15th century): a legal term meaning “free; exempt.”
The verb to immunize and the noun immunization came into the language along with the improved medical technique in the 19th century.
immunize: To make (an organism) immune to a pathogen, disease, or antigen; esp. to administer a vaccine, antiserum, antigen, etc.
immunization: Med. (and Biol.). The production of immunity in an organism; esp. inoculation or vaccination against a disease. Also: the administration of a vaccine, antiserum, antigen, etc
When immune is used in the sense of “exempt,” the particle “from” follows it:
Health-Care Shocker” Shows Nobody is Immune from Insurance Company Abuses
Security Contractors Immune from Torture Charges, Judges Rule
When the sense is “not receptive to,” the particle is “to”:
Old People May Be Immune to Swine Flu
Strange Creature Immune to Pain
Macs no longer immune to viruses, experts say
Bottom line: if your goal is to speak or write a standard form of English, you must abjure the use of “immuned.”
Browse all articles on the Misused Words category or check the recommended content for you below:
Improve your English in 5 minutes a day! Subscribe to our Writing Tips and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interactive exercises!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!