asymmetry

noun

asym·​me·​try (ˌ)ā-ˈsi-mə-trē How to pronounce asymmetry (audio)
plural asymmetries
: lack or absence of symmetry
As Mercury orbits the Sun, it experiences a small torque due to its slight asymmetry in the plane of its orbit …Johanna Miller
French rococo was a part of this mood, which tended to favor pastel colors, asymmetry, a calculated disorder, a dreamy sensuality.Jonathan D. Spence
"Handedness"—whether we are left- or right-handed—is a convenient indicator of the development of the brain asymmetries that are thought to be required for language.Tim Flannery

Examples of asymmetry in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead Furious Stasis Verdi’s sprawling opera La Forza del Destino draws its power from asymmetry, arbitrary juxtapositions, and extreme situations. The New York Review of Books, 29 Mar. 2024 The modern talent market was built on a series of asymmetries, which are further compounded by an imbalance of power. James Hudson, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 There are asymmetries between the future and the past. Quanta Magazine, 29 Feb. 2024 But Hamas has been able to reduce this battlefield asymmetry through its concealment within the civilian population and its underground tunnel network. Foreign Affairs, 9 Nov. 2023 The identification of rare mutations in this gene that are more common in left-handers suggests that microtubules are involved in setting up the brain's normal asymmetries, Francks said. Fox News, 2 Apr. 2024 This process can occur at different rates for each breast, leading to temporary asymmetry. Carlos Wolf, Miami Herald, 2 Mar. 2024 All of these changes are compounded by each person’s asymmetries and unique movement patterns, the effects of which add up over time. Cindy Kuzma, SELF, 14 Feb. 2024 In social psychology, that’s an attributional bias called the actor–observer asymmetry. Mary C. Murphy, Fortune Well, 15 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'asymmetry.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1651, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of asymmetry was in 1651

Dictionary Entries Near asymmetry

Cite this Entry

“Asymmetry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/asymmetry. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition

asymmetry

noun
asym·​me·​try (ˈ)ā-ˈsim-ə-trē How to pronounce asymmetry (audio)
plural asymmetries
1
: lack or absence of symmetry: as
a
: lack of proportion between the parts of a thing
especially : want of bilateral symmetry
asymmetry in the development of the two sides of the brain
b
: lack of coordination of two parts acting in connection with one another
asymmetry of convergence of the eyes
2
: lack of symmetry in spatial arrangement of atoms and groups in a molecule

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