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

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Other Words from dysfunction

dysfunctional \ (ˌ)dis-​ˈfəŋ(k)-​shnəl How to pronounce dysfunctional (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of dysfunction in a Sentence

The disease causes gastrointestinal dysfunctions.

Recent Examples on the Web

Mandating a $10,000 cost increase to all new homes is just another glaring example of legislative dysfunction. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Is California's solar mandate a good move?," 25 May 2018 Here in a country torn apart by civil war and ethnic cleansing for 14 years, where government is mostly just a rumor, kids die routinely because of the chaos and dysfunction. Nicholas Kristof, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Conflict is more profitable than peace’," 26 Mar. 2018 Least favorite: The SESTA/FOSTA Act For all its dysfunction, the US Congress managed to come together to pass a bipartisan bill. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Our favorite (and least favorite) tech of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Image Italian political dysfunction is nothing new. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "The Danger That Italy’s Political Crisis Poses for the Global Economy," 30 May 2018 But Capitol Hill’s dysfunction is so pervasive that even the most optimistic predictions are for only a handful of the 12 annual spending bills to make it into law by Oct. 1, the start of the new budget year. Andrew Taylor, BostonGlobe.com, "Budget battle brews as Trump threatens another shutdown," 27 May 2018 Although scientists are still figuring out our exact relationship to our microbiomes, studies have shown that microbiome dysfunction may be responsible for everything from autoimmune diseases to mental illnesses to fertility problems. Tehrene Firman, Redbook, "How to Get Pregnant," 10 Aug. 2017 But a major difference is that food intolerances are not the result of an immune system dysfunction. Korin Miller, SELF, "4 Signs You Might Be Allergic to Sugar," 24 Dec. 2018 Voters are rightly angry that the political and economic order in the West has stopped working for too many people, and Mr. Tucker offers a window into the dysfunctions at the heart of the failure. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "‘Unelected Power’ Review: Monetary Mavericks," 27 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

9 Mar 2019

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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 How to pronounce disfunction (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 dysfunctional (audio) \ adjective
dysfunctioning \ -​shə-​niŋ How to pronounce dysfunctioning (audio) \ 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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