dys·​func·​tion | \ (ˌ)dis-ˈfəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce dysfunction (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of dysfunction

1 : impaired or abnormal functioning gastrointestinal dysfunction
2 : 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 Recognizing this deep dysfunction, your reflexive response is a kind one — to want some connection at least to the child, who of course is innocent. Washington Post, 4 May 2022 Cognitive dysfunction is one of the more alarming common long COVID symptoms. Andrew Marquardt, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2022 But crime and corruption generally serve the director as a window into systemic dysfunction, legal malpractice and even metaphysical quandaries. John Anderson, WSJ, 28 Dec. 2021 The throughline of all this dysfunction is simply that the USDA puts the interests of agricultural production for its own sake over everything else. Gabriel N. Rosenberg, The New Republic, 27 Dec. 2021 As the country has plunged into ever deeper dysfunction, its political elite has resorted to increasingly bitter infighting. New York Times, 14 Oct. 2021 Sitting immigration judges are prohibited by the Justice Department from talking to the press, so Hanrahan’s insights provide a rare account from inside the courts into dysfunction that has long been described by the immigrant advocacy community. Tal Kopan, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 May 2021 The disconnect between the British public’s desire to help Ukrainian refugees and the British government’s foot-dragging is highlighting a history of dysfunction in the Home Office’s immigration control. Shafi Musaddique, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Mar. 2022 Witnesses described criminal division rife with resentment, dysfunction in 2015. San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dysfunction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of dysfunction

circa 1916, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dysfunction

dys- + function entry 1

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Time Traveler for dysfunction

Time Traveler

The first known use of dysfunction was circa 1916

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Statistics for dysfunction

Last Updated

8 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dysfunction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dysfunction. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for dysfunction


variants: also disfunction \ (ˈ)dis-​ˈfəŋ(k)-​shən How to pronounce dysfunction (audio) \

Medical Definition of dysfunction

: impaired or abnormal functioning (as of an organ of the body) — see minimal brain dysfunction

Other Words from dysfunction

dysfunctional \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce dysfunction (audio) \ adjective
dysfunctioning \ -​shə-​niŋ How to pronounce dysfunction (audio) \ noun


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