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

Some of the same dysfunction on the organization is still there even though there's two new megastars in the picture. Andrew Sharp And Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Could D’Angelo Russell Return to the Lakers? | Open Floor Podcast," 26 June 2019 These innovations, while disruptive, are essential to address the dysfunction that plagues traditional primary care. STAT, "We were inspired to become primary care physicians. Now we’re reconsidering a field in crisis," 20 June 2019 With all the quarterback dysfunction, there's plenty of statistical evidence suggesting this group could be on the rise in 2018. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Tarik Black's return, better fundamentals could boost Michigan WRs," 24 May 2018 But three years ago, on March 16, 2015, the dysfunction that has haunted our Legislature for so many years began to come apart. Rep. David Eastman | Opinion, Anchorage Daily News, "Why pledging loyalty to party caucuses on budget is bad for lawmakers," 27 Mar. 2018 The Lakers may never have been a viable destination, given the kind of front-office dysfunction and volatility that Leonard detests. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Kawhi to the Clippers is crazy and unexpected, and makes perfect sense," 6 July 2019 But Chernobyl still boasts secrets more than three decades later, including the story of Chershnev and his charges — a saga of dysfunction and disregard for human life that lays bare conditions in the waning years of the Soviet Union. Sergei L. Loiko, latimes.com, "Secrets of Chernobyl spill out more than three decades after the nuclear disaster," 30 June 2019 Mexican officials noted that the legal and administrative dysfunction of the U.S. immigration system was not Mexico’s responsibility. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Trump: Some aspects of Mexico deal are still secret," 10 June 2019 Drama and dysfunction have often obscured Love’s talent and accomplishments. Lisawhill, Longreads, "Live Through This: Courtney Love at 55," 9 July 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

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Statistics for dysfunction

Last Updated

10 Aug 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

Comments on dysfunction

What made you want to look up dysfunction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to shake or wave menacingly

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