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 Defense lawyers said that chaos and dysfunction in the Police Department meant that officers and supervisors on the street didn’t know undercover officers were working that night. BostonGlobe.com, "Jury declines to convict 3 white St. Louis police officers in severe beating of a Black colleague," 30 Mar. 2021 At VA clinics and hospitals across the region, distribution of the shots has been swift, efficient and highly coordinated — a stark contrast to the chaos and dysfunction that has marred the rollout in the fragmented private health system. Chris Serres, Star Tribune, "VA outreach puts Minnesota veterans on vaccine fast track," 25 Mar. 2021 Chronic pain is all in your head, or a symptom of some kind of deeper social/spiritual dysfunction. Andrew Pulrang, Forbes, "People With Chronic Pain Are Claiming A Voice In The Opioids Crisis," 17 Mar. 2021 Preliminary observations were yielding more data to support the theories about the role that breathing issues and autonomic dysfunction played for some patients. Meghan O'rourke, The Atlantic, "The Quest to Unlock the Mysteries of Long COVID," 8 Mar. 2021 Her pain is subtle in early episodes, but like the sitcoms referenced, each decade belies more dysfunction, creating cracks in the perfect family veneer. Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: ‘WandaVision’ could have played only to Marvel fans. Refusing to do so made it great," 5 Mar. 2021 Dexter plays his daughter, Nelda, a woman trying to remove herself from dangerous dysfunction even as she is propelled backwards by her own personal history. al, "Alabama snake handlers focus of new Chicago opera," 1 Mar. 2021 But though a majority of people recover their senses within weeks, 10% suffer long-term smell dysfunction, some researchers estimate. oregonlive, "Months after contracting COVID-19, some will try anything to regain their sense of smell," 7 Feb. 2021 Robakowski cited dysfunction on the commission as a reason for his exit. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "No vote on Milwaukee's next police chief expected until at least March 18," 4 Feb. 2021

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

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

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dysfunction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dysfunction. Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for dysfunction



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 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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