atrophy

noun
at·​ro·​phy | \ ˈa-trə-fē How to pronounce atrophy (audio) \
plural atrophies

Definition of atrophy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : decrease in size or wasting away of a body part or tissue atrophy of muscles also : arrested development or loss of a part or organ incidental to the normal development or life of an animal or plant
2 : a wasting away or progressive decline It was not a solitude of atrophy, of negation, but of perpetual flowering.— Willa Cather an atrophy of imagination

atrophy

verb
at·​ro·​phy | \ ˈa-trə-fē How to pronounce atrophy (audio) , -ˌfī How to pronounce atrophy (audio) \
atrophied; atrophying; atrophies

Definition of atrophy (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive + intransitive

: to waste away (as from disease or disuse) : to undergo atrophy Extended periods of weightlessness resulted in body fluids pooling in the upper torso, causing changes in how the heart pumped blood. In addition, muscles began to atrophy, bones lost calcium and mass …— Warren E. Leary Because of an incomplete spine, only one nerve serviced her legs, causing them to atrophy.— Ada Brownell Communion with nature strengthens both body and soul; isolation from nature causes both to atrophy.— Mark Purcell also : to cause (something) to waste away or undergo atrophy When reform becomes too theological, it atrophies some forces even while it galvanizes others. — John C. Culver — see also atrophied

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Other Words from atrophy

Noun

atrophic \ (ˌ)ā-​ˈtrō-​fik How to pronounce atrophic (audio) \ adjective

What Can atrophy?

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.

Examples of atrophy in a Sentence

Noun The doctor is concerned about possible atrophy of the shoulder muscles.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Were this not the case, Novartis would not have paid $8.7bn last year to buy AveXis, a small biotech firm, thereby acquiring Zolgensma, a gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The Economist, "The pharmaceutical industry New drugs are costly and unmet need is growing," 12 Mar. 2020 In these chronic cases, clinicians typically find significant atrophy of the two major muscles that are supplied by the nerve overlying the scapula, and when these muscles atrophy, the bony spine of the scapula becomes very prominent. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "PET TALK: The rundown on equine shoulder Sweeney," 7 Mar. 2020 Zolgensma provides a working version of the gene that is at fault in spinal muscular atrophy, a disease whose sufferers cannot control their muscles. Denise Roland, WSJ, "Novartis Posts Sales Growth as It Slims Down," 29 Jan. 2020 Reagan Imhoff of New Berlin was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy Type II just a few days after her first birthday, the release said. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee breweries to raise funds for neuromuscular disease research," 22 Nov. 2019 Nash has a rare neuromuscular disease, spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress, which is known as SMARD. CBS News, "A boy with a rare disease wasn't expected to live past 2. For his 3rd birthday, a parade was held in his honor.," 20 Nov. 2019 Nash has a rare neuromuscular disease known as SMARD, or spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress. Maddie Capron And Christina Zdanowicz, CNN, "Doctors said boy wouldn't live past his second birthday. His town just threw a parade for his third," 18 Nov. 2019 Swiss drugmaker Novartis recently launched a lottery-style program to allocate free doses of Zolgensma, its groundbreaking treatment for children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), to patients in countries that haven't approved the drug. Sally C. Pipes, Fortune, "How this gene therapy drug earned it’s $2.1 million price tag," 8 Feb. 2020 There’s a big win in the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "BRAIN Initiative’s first director sets sights on clinical tools," 4 Feb. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of atrophy

Noun

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1863, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for atrophy

Noun

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

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Time Traveler for atrophy

Time Traveler

The first known use of atrophy was in 1601

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Statistics for atrophy

Last Updated

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Atrophy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atrophy. Accessed 7 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for atrophy

atrophy

noun
How to pronounce atrophy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of atrophy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

atrophy

verb
How to pronounce atrophy (audio) How to pronounce atrophy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of atrophy (Entry 2 of 2)

medical : to become weak from lack of use : to suffer from atrophy

atrophy

noun
at·​ro·​phy | \ ˈa-trə-fē How to pronounce atrophy (audio) \
plural atrophies

Medical Definition of atrophy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

atrophy

verb
\ ˈa-trə-fē How to pronounce atrophy (audio) , -ˌfī How to pronounce atrophy (audio) \
atrophied; atrophying

Medical Definition of atrophy (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to undergo atrophy the inactive muscles atrophied

transitive verb

: to cause to undergo atrophy disuse atrophied the arm

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Comments on atrophy

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