dys·​lex·​ia dis-ˈlek-sē-ə How to pronounce dyslexia (audio)
: a variable often familial learning disability involving difficulties in acquiring and processing language that is typically manifested by a lack of proficiency in reading, spelling, and writing
dyslexic adjective or noun

Examples of dyslexia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sean Astin, who would later play Samwise Gamgee in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, starred as the real-life Ruettiger, who beat the odds to find a place on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team despite having dyslexia and lacking the physical prowess of typical players. Jason Hahn, Peoplemag, 27 Mar. 2024 For more than two years, state lawmakers have called to strengthen dyslexia screening in Michigan public schools and strengthen reading instruction across the state. Lily Altavena, Detroit Free Press, 3 Feb. 2024 Those can include private, out-of-district placements and specialized classrooms for specific needs like dyslexia, for example. Annie Ma, Fortune, 5 Dec. 2023 That incipient definition characterized a lot of early thinking about dyslexia. Sarah Carr, Scientific American, 16 Nov. 2023 Equally, elements such as text spacing to make content easier to read for individuals with dyslexia can be done through a web browser but would need to be specifically coded into a mobile app. Gus Alexiou, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 Academic interventionists work one-on-one with students who have challenges at school, including those who are learning English and those with learning differences like dyslexia or dyscalculia. Silas Allen, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 4 Mar. 2024 The Adam Project star Walker Scobell takes over the role of Percy, a 12-year-old misfit grappling with dyslexia and ADHD who often daydreams of mythological creatures. Devan Coggan, EW.com, 18 Dec. 2023 My dyslexia has been a lifelong learning challenge. New York Times, 26 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dyslexia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


earlier, "impairment in the ability to read due to a brain injury," borrowed from French & German; French dyslexie, borrowed from German Dyslexie, from dys- dys- + -lexie (in Alexie alexia)

Note: German Dyslexie was introduced by the ophthalmologist Rudolf Berlin (1833-97), apparently first in print in Medicinisches Correspondenzblatt des Württembergischen Ärztlichen Landesvereins, vol. 53 (1883), p. 209. Berlin gave an oral presentation on dyslexia at a professional meeting in June, 1883 ("VIII. Wandersammlung der Südwestdeutschen Neurologen und Irrenärtze in Baden", published in Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, Band 15 [1884], pp. 276-78) in which he explained the coinage as follows: "Die mehr oder weniger deutlich ausgesprochene Plötzlichkeit, mit welcher die Krankheit auftritt und die begleitenden, resp. im Verlaufe sich entwickelnden cerebrale Symptome machen es höchst wahrscheinlich dass die pathologisch-anatomische Ursache der Lesestörung ebenfalls eine cerebrale ist. Redner bezeichnete die letzere deshalb, um diese Auffassung zu markiren, nach Analogie des gebräuchlichen Ausdruckes Alexie als 'Dyslexie.' Dabei macht er auf die etymologischen Bedenken aufmerksam, welche diese Bezeichnung entgegenstehen, die Aufstellung eines physiologisch weniger anfechtbaren Ausdruckes anheimgebend." ("The more or less clearly pronounced suddenness with which the disorder appears, and the cerebral symptoms that accompany it or develop in its course, make it highly probable that the pathological and anatomical cause of the disturbance in reading is likewise a cerebral one. To make this conception clear, the speaker [i.e., Berlin] therefore designates the disturbance, by analogy with the customary expression alexia, as 'dyslexia.' At the same time while he draws attention to the etymological reservations that might oppose this designation, he yields to the establishment of an expression less contestable physiologically.")

First Known Use

circa 1888, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dyslexia was circa 1888

Dictionary Entries Near dyslexia

Cite this Entry

“Dyslexia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dyslexia. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


dys·​lex·​ia dis-ˈlek-sē-ə How to pronounce dyslexia (audio)
: a learning disability that is usually marked by problems in reading, spelling, and writing

Medical Definition


dys·​lex·​ia dis-ˈlek-sē-ə How to pronounce dyslexia (audio)
: a variable often familial learning disability that involves difficulties in acquiring and processing language and that is typically manifested by a lack of proficiency in reading, spelling, and writing

More from Merriam-Webster on dyslexia

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