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)

: 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

The Jonathan’s Dream playground was originally built in 1996 and honors Jonathan Peter Barzach, who had spinal muscular atrophy and died at the age of nine months. Michael Walsh, courant.com, "Kindness Rocks Project Founder To Visit Jonathan’s Dream," 9 Sep. 2019 The scan didn’t prove that Hinckley had schizophrenia, experts said—but this sort of brain atrophy was more common among schizophrenics than among the general population. Eryn Brown, Scientific American, "Is “Neurolaw” Coming Soon to a Courtroom Near You?," 7 Sep. 2019 In February, at 16 months old, a blood test determined Estelle had Type 2 spinal muscular atrophy. Jonathan Saltzman, BostonGlobe.com, "The world’s most expensive medicine could save toddlers’ lives. But getting it is complicated," 8 Aug. 2019 The drug Zolgensma was approved in May to treat spinal muscular atrophy in children 2 and under. Lauren Dunn, NBC News, "FDA raises accuracy questions over trial data of gene therapy drug," 6 Aug. 2019 The single biggest source of quarterly revenue was $71 million for Spinraza, a drug for spinal muscular atrophy sold by marketing partner Biogen. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Carlsbad’s Ionis gets $25M upfront for licensing hepatitis B drugs to GSK," 27 Aug. 2019 Zolgensma, AveXis’s banner product, looked to be a transformational medicine for spinal muscular atrophy, a rare disorder whose most severe form is almost universally fatal within two years of birth. Damian Garde, BostonGlobe.com, "Novartis CEO in the hotseat after revelation that his company submitted falsified data to the FDA," 7 Aug. 2019 Zolgensma was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare and often fatal disease caused by mutations in the SMN1 gene. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Why This Life-Saving Drug Costs $2.1 Million, and Why Insurers Won't Cover It," 30 July 2019 When the Food and Drug Administration approved Zolgensma, a lifesaving medication to treat spinal muscular atrophy, parents of young children with the rare and fatal disease rejoiced. Linda Carroll, NBC News, "With $2.1 million price tag, families fight to get lifesaving drug for babies covered," 26 July 2019

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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Learn More about atrophy

Dictionary Entries near atrophy

atropaceous

atrophia

atrophied

atrophy

atropia

Atropidae

atropine

Statistics for atrophy

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for atrophy

The first known use of atrophy was in 1601

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More Definitions for atrophy

atrophy

noun

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

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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