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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Examples of dysfunction in a Sentence

The disease causes gastrointestinal dysfunctions.
Recent Examples on the Web Getting reliable data about how many women suffer from orgasmic dysfunction, which is how difficulty having an orgasm is generally described, isn’t easy. Dr. Nan Wise, Glamour, "Why Can’t I Orgasm? A Neuroscientist Explains," 9 Feb. 2020 Together, the locals and asylum-seekers bear the shared brunt of forces beyond their control — Greek government dysfunction, the cold shoulder of the European Union, the chaos in the Middle East, and the geopolitical calculations of Turkey. Jason Horowitz, BostonGlobe.com, "The scenic isle where the world’s chaos comes home to roost," 8 Feb. 2020 Meanwhile, after days of dysfunction, Democratic party chair Tom Perez called for an Iowa recanvass. Charlotte Alter, Time, "It Doesn't Matter Who Technically Wins Iowa: Both Bernie Sanders And Pete Buttigieg Did," 6 Feb. 2020 A trillion dollars of dud mortgages blew up the financial system in 2007-08; but a creeping dysfunction, created over decades, has been just as pernicious. The Economist, "The week in charts The great global housing folly," 17 Jan. 2020 Is that a ghost problem, like spectral dysfunction, or more a consideration for her heart? Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Henry Golding opens up about that huge Last Christmas twist," 8 Nov. 2019 Part of the problem is that the film telegraphs, rather than foreshadows, its tale’s creepiness and dysfunction, from the overly deliberate dialogue to Carter Burwell’s apt but unsurprising score. Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Good Liar': Film Review," 7 Nov. 2019 In a characteristic move, however, Lesley Wenger, the council’s chief instigator of dysfunction, teamed with council ally Mark Sanderson on a series of delay tactics that will now cost the city $118,000 in revenue. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Castle Hills turmoil costs the city crucial street funding," 21 Sep. 2019 These impulses are born in the dark corners of political dysfunction, in an atmosphere of complete atrophy of responsibility that has turned into an organic disease. Anatoly Chernyaev, Harper's magazine, "Cogs of War," 19 Aug. 2019

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

22 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dysfunction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dysfunction. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for dysfunction


How to pronounce dysfunction (audio)

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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