an·​en·​ceph·​a·​ly | \ˌan-(ˌ)en-ˈse-fə-lē \
plural anencephalies

Definition of anencephaly 

: congenital absence of all or a major part of the brain

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Other Words from anencephaly

anencephalic \ -​ˌen(t)-​sə-​ˈfa-​lik \ adjective

Examples of anencephaly in a Sentence

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Our much-wanted baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, a fatal condition. Josephine Sedgwick, New York Times, "‘I Couldn’t Tell Anyone’: Women Around the World Reveal Intimate Stories of Abortion," 9 July 2018 Three weeks earlier, a routine scan revealed that her baby had anencephaly, a fatal defect in which part of the brain and skull isn't fully formed. Sheena Mckenzie, CNN, "'Irish abortions happen; they just don't happen on Irish soil'," 22 May 2018 The stillborn baby had a rare condition called anencephaly, in which the brain and the skull fails to develop properly. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "This Ancient Mummified Bird Is Actually a Mummified Baby," 2 June 2018 These defects occur in the first month of a pregnancy and include conditions that impact the brain, skull, and spine, like spina bifida and anencephaly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "Do I Really Need to Take Prenatal Vitamins Before I’m Even Pregnant?," 19 Apr. 2018 Shane, who was diagnosed with anencephaly, a birth defect that causes part of the brain and skull to be missing, died shortly after he was born on October 9. Kelly Potts, Woman's Day, "'Bucket List' Baby's Parents Share Heartwarming Video," 11 Nov. 2014 Glory Faye Vinci was born March 14, 2017 with anencephaly, a condition that prevents the brain from developing normally. Gus Chan,, ""A connecting cord in our loss:" Art promotes healing for Lifebanc organ donor families," 15 Apr. 2018 Investigators also looked into community concerns of pesticide exposure, but found no history of pesticide drift involving the chemicals most likely to influence anencephaly. Molly Rosbach, The Seattle Times, "No sole factor in Central Washington birth-defect cluster, health officials say," 18 Sep. 2017 The Youngs learned in December that their second child had anencephaly, a rare birth defect that causes the frontal lobe of the brain to fail to develop. Ajc Homepage, ajc, "Parents shed 'happy tears' after birth of baby without brain takes uplifting turn," 28 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anencephaly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anencephaly

1831, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for anencephaly

a- entry 2 + encephal- + -y entry 2

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The first known use of anencephaly was in 1831

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an·​en·​ceph·​a·​ly | \ˌan-(ˌ)en-ˈsef-ə-lē \
plural anencephalies

Medical Definition of anencephaly 

: congenital absence of all or a major part of the brain

More from Merriam-Webster on anencephaly

Britannica English: Translation of anencephaly for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about anencephaly

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