Definition of atrophy
- atrophy of muscles
- It was not a solitude of atrophy, of negation, but of perpetual flowering.
- —Willa Cather
- an atrophy of imagination
The doctor is concerned about possible atrophy of the shoulder muscles.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atrophy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
From its literal Greek roots, atrophy would mean basically "lack of nourishment". Although the English word doesn't usually imply any lack of food, it always refers to a wasting away. Those who have been bedridden for a period of time will notice that their muscles have atrophied. And muscular atrophy is a frequent result of such diseases as cancer and AIDS. We also use atrophy in a much more general sense. After being out of work a few years, you may find your work skills have atrophied; someone who's been living an isolated life may discover the same thing about his or her social skills; and a democracy can atrophy when its citizens cease to pay attention to how they're being governed.
medical : gradual loss of muscle or flesh usually because of disease or lack of use
What made you want to look up atrophy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to pay off by making regular payments
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