dys·​func·​tion (ˌ)dis-ˈfəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce dysfunction (audio)
variants or less commonly disfunction
: impaired or abnormal functioning
gastrointestinal dysfunction
: abnormal or unhealthy interpersonal behavior or interaction within a group
family dysfunction

Examples of dysfunction in a Sentence

The disease causes gastrointestinal dysfunctions.
Recent Examples on the Web The dysfunction in Washington makes such innovation difficult at the federal level, but states have been trying variants. Bloomberg Opinion, Twin Cities, 20 Apr. 2024 Closed since 1992, fenced off and slathered in graffiti, the Commodore Ralph Middleton Munroe Miami Marine Stadium has been a victim, critics contend, of apathy and dysfunction by the city’s managers and commissioners. Andres Viglucci, Miami Herald, 14 Apr. 2024 Fluoride opponents claim the mineral is responsible for everything from acne to high blood pressure and thyroid dysfunction to bone cancer. Melba Newsome, USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2024 Frequent travelers with Eustachian tube dysfunction might want to consider having pressure equalization tubes implants in their ears. Blane Bachelor, Condé Nast Traveler, 9 Apr. 2024 The use of short-term stopgap funding bills to kick shutdown deadlines down the road, often repeatedly, has in fact become a routine part of how Congress functions (or dysfunctions, depending on your point of view). Tia Yang, ABC News, 5 Apr. 2024 If the United States and the CARICOM do not get this next chapter right—and stand by leaders who are credible, are legitimate, and have the bureaucratic experience to put the Haitian state back on track—the cycle of violence and dysfunction will not end. Pierre Esperance, Foreign Affairs, 2 Apr. 2024 Replace Battery Another possible reason for a slow phone is a battery overused to the point of dysfunction. Dua Rashid / Gizmodo, Quartz, 24 Mar. 2024 The dysfunction while Republicans scrambled to elect a new speaker revealed the deep fractures that run through the House GOP conference. Kevin McCarthy, USA TODAY, 7 Apr. 2024

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

Word History


dys- + function entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1916, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dysfunction was circa 1916

Dictionary Entries Near dysfunction




Cite this Entry

“Dysfunction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dysfunction. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


dys·​func·​tion dis-ˈfəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce dysfunction (audio)
: impaired or abnormal functioning
liver dysfunction
-shnəl How to pronounce dysfunction (audio)

Medical Definition


variants also disfunction
: impaired or abnormal functioning (as of an organ of the body) see minimal brain dysfunction
dysfunctional adjective
dysfunctioning noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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