Science Word Wednesday: Antibody

Sep 09, 2020
By Taylor Tibbs


What does it mean? 

Antibodies are proteins produced by immune cells to target foreign elements or pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and fungi, to ultimately eliminate them from the body.The body produces many unique antibodies specific to things that can make you sick. Antibodies can neutralize toxins directly or act like flags to tell the immune system to target and destroy the thing they are attached to. 

Step by step image of antibodies binding a virus and then an immune cell recognizing that antibody to then destroy the virus.
Image is the author’s own work.

How do I use it in a sentence?

“The patient was diagnosed with COVID-19 two weeks ago and now has antibodies specific to the virus SARS-CoV-2.”


The term “antibody” was first used by German scientist (Paul Ehrlich) in 1891 as “antikörper,” which is translated to “antibody” in English. “Anti-” is a Greek prefix meaning “against,” and “körper” is the German word for “body.”

Related terms

Antigen, B-cell

Fields of study in which this word is commonly used



Diagnostic and clinical laboratories

Edited by Emma Goldberg and Anna Wheless