dys·​lex·​ia | \ dis-ˈlek-sē-ə How to pronounce dyslexia (audio) \

Definition of dyslexia

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dyslexia

dyslexic \ dis-​ˈlek-​sik How to pronounce dyslexia (audio) \ adjective or noun

Examples of dyslexia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Piwetz said the AmplioSpeech program helps their sole dyslexia specialist with scheduling across multiple campuses. Talia Richman, Dallas News, "Few dyslexic students benefiting from an online tool that’s costing Texas millions," 28 Jan. 2021 In Superman's Not Coming, Brockovich writes that her dyslexia impacted her reading comprehension and her grades. Sam Gillette, PEOPLE.com, "Erin Brockovich Reveals How Her Dyslexia — and Doubters — Shaped Her Citizen Activism Career," 27 Aug. 2020 Originally designed by an 8-year-old who has dyslexia, The Mug With A Hoop is great for fidgety kids. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "10 small businesses to shop now on Amazon for special Prime Day discounts," 29 Sep. 2020 Hawke has previously spoken about how her dyslexia made her role as Jo in PBS’ 2017 miniseries adaptation Little Women even more meaningful. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Maya Hawke Says She Got 'Kicked Out of School for Not Being Able to Read' and Is 'Still Limited'," 6 Sep. 2020 The youngest in a family of four children growing up in Lawrence, Kansas, a university town 45 minutes west of Kansas City, Brockovich was placed in special-education classes for her dyslexia. Amanda Fortini, The Atlantic, "Erin Brockovich Wants to Know What You’re Drinking," 11 Aug. 2020 In this job, Beatrice says that her dyslexia has actually been an advantage. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "Princess Beatrice Opens Up About Her Dyslexia in Rare Interview," 26 May 2020 The results confirmed Isaac had dyslexia and an above-average IQ. USA Today, "Two boys with the same disability tried to get help. The rich student got it quickly. The poor student did not.," 9 Feb. 2020 The teen had struggled over the years with attention deficit, anxiety, dyslexia and other disorders, according to the mother. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Grafton appeals decision forcing it to pay $78,000-a-year private school tuition for student with learning disabilities," 16 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dyslexia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of dyslexia

circa 1888, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dyslexia

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.")

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dyslexia

Time Traveler for dyslexia

Time Traveler

The first known use of dyslexia was circa 1888

See more words from the same year

Statistics for dyslexia

Last Updated

6 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dyslexia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dyslexia. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dyslexia



English Language Learners Definition of dyslexia

medical : a condition in the brain that makes it hard for a person to read, write, and spell


dys·​lex·​ia | \ dis-ˈlek-sē-ə How to pronounce dyslexia (audio) \

Kids Definition of dyslexia

: a learning disability in which a person usually has a problem in reading, spelling, and writing

Other Words from dyslexia

dyslexic \ -​ˈlek-​sik \ adjective


dys·​lex·​ia | \ dis-ˈlek-sē-ə How to pronounce dyslexia (audio) \

Medical Definition of dyslexia

: 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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dyslexia

Comments on dyslexia

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!