an·​en·​ceph·​a·​ly | \ ˌan-(ˌ)en-ˈse-fə-lē How to pronounce anencephaly (audio) \
plural anencephalies

Definition of anencephaly

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

Other Words from anencephaly

anencephalic \ ˌan-​ˌen(t)-​sə-​ˈfa-​lik How to pronounce anencephaly (audio) \ adjective

Examples of anencephaly in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Then a 20-week ultrasound revealed the inconceivable: Large portions of the brain and skull were missing, a rare birth defect called anencephaly. Angie Leventis Lourgos,, 10 June 2019 From 2010 to 2016, in Central Washington, cases of anencephaly — in which babies are born missing part of the brain and skull — were detected at a rate far higher than the national average. Jonel Aleccia, The Seattle Times, 16 Oct. 2018 Our much-wanted baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, a fatal condition. Josephine Sedgwick, New York Times, 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, 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, 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, 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, 11 Nov. 2014 Glory Faye Vinci was born March 14, 2017 with anencephaly, a condition that prevents the brain from developing normally. Gus Chan,, 15 Apr. 2018 See More

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.

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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Cite this Entry

“Anencephaly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for anencephaly


an·​en·​ceph·​a·​ly | \ ˌan-(ˌ)en-ˈsef-ə-lē How to pronounce anencephaly (audio) \
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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