dys·​func·​tion | \(ˌ)dis-ˈfəŋ(k)-shən \
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

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Other Words from dysfunction

dysfunctional \(ˌ)dis-​ˈfəŋ(k)-​shnəl, -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of dysfunction in a Sentence

The disease causes gastrointestinal dysfunctions.

Recent Examples on the Web

Immune system dysfunction: Problems with the immune system can hamper a woman’s ability to clear her menstrual debris, leading to endometriosis. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Women with endometriosis suffer terrible pain. There’s finally a new treatment option.," 24 July 2018 There were hours of behind-the-scenes talks over the weekend between the leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers over how to end the display of legislative dysfunction, which began at midnight Friday after Democrats blocked a temporary spending measure. Alan Fram, The Seattle Times, "End to government shutdown in sight as Dems halt filibuster," 22 Jan. 2018 But much of the chatter has centered on how such legislative dysfunction would impact this year’s midterm elections. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "No One Will Remember This Government Shutdown Fight By November," 19 Jan. 2018 Both sides seem to believe that a grand solution to our political dysfunction can be found inside politics. Ben Sasse, WSJ, "Politics Can’t Solve Our Political Problems," 12 Oct. 2018 Facebook’s influence today is largely a product of Libya’s dysfunction. Suliman Ali Zway, The Seattle Times, "In Libya, Facebook is used to buy arms, locate foes and kill them," 3 Sep. 2018 Smitherman had criticized the five council members accused in Miller's lawsuit for feeding into the dysfunction at City Hall. Dan Horn, Cincinnati.com, "'Gang of 5' not only Cincinnati council members sending secret texts, motion says," 5 July 2018 Congress, despite its dysfunction, is trying to legislate a fix for both problems. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Trump sounds like he doesn’t really want an immigration deal," 25 June 2018 This system has complex interactions with other neurotransmitters in the brain that have been implicated in the dysfunction associated with psychoses. Dr. Stephen Mcleod-bryant, miamiherald, "Psychosis often the effect of long-term, recreational marijuana use," 15 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of dysfunction

circa 1916, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for dysfunction

The first known use of dysfunction was circa 1916

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English Language Learners Definition of dysfunction

: the condition of having poor and unhealthy behaviors and attitudes within a group of people

medical : the state of being unable to function in a normal way


variants: also disfunction \(ˈ)dis-​ˈfəŋ(k)-​shən \

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 \ adjective
dysfunctioning \-​shə-​niŋ \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on dysfunction

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dysfunction

Spanish Central: Translation of dysfunction

Nglish: Translation of dysfunction for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dysfunction for Arabic Speakers

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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