Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

atrophy

play
noun at·ro·phy \ˈa-trə-fē\

Simple Definition of atrophy

  • medical : gradual loss of muscle or flesh usually because of disease or lack of use

Full Definition of atrophy

plural at·ro·phies

  1. 1 :  decrease in size or wasting away of a body part or tissue; also :  arrested development or loss of a part or organ incidental to the normal development or life of an animal or plant

  2. 2 :  a wasting away or progressive decline <was not a solitude of atrophy, of negation, but of perpetual flowering — Willa Cather>

atro·phicplay \(ˌ)ā-ˈtrō-fik\ adjective
atrophy play \ˈa-trə-fē, -ˌfī\ verb

Examples of atrophy

  1. The doctor is concerned about possible atrophy of the shoulder muscles.



Origin of atrophy

Late Latin atrophia, from Greek, from atrophos ill fed, from a- + trephein to nourish


First Known Use: 1601



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up atrophy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 7, 2016

a slight offense

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez spindrift duvet kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ