dys·​to·​cia dis-ˈtō-sh(ē-)ə How to pronounce dystocia (audio)
: slow or difficult labor or delivery

Examples of dystocia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When there is a shoulder dystocia, there are tried and true things that must be done. Pilar Arias, Fox News, 8 Feb. 2024 Complications like shoulder dystocia are rare in obstetrics. Adam Wolfberg, The Atlantic, 26 May 2017

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

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, borrowed from Greek dystokía, from dys- dys- + tókos "childbirth, act of giving birth (of animals), offspring" + -ia -ia entry 1; tókos nominal ablaut derivative of tíktō, tíktein, aorist étekon, tekeîn "to give birth to, beget, generate," probably going back to Indo-European *teḱ- "generate, give birth to," base of the aorist stem *tetḱ- "generate, produce" — more at tectonic

Note: According to Helmut Rix, et al., Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben, 2. Ausgabe (Wiesbaden, 2001), *te-tḱ- represents a pre-Indo-European reduplicated aorist from which *teḱ- was in effect back-derived. Other than Greek, there appears to be no evidence for *teḱ- as a simple verb, and the supposed connection of the nominal derivative téknon "child, young of an animal" with Germanic *þegna- "servant, retainer of a lord" has been seriously questioned (see thane).

First Known Use

circa 1706, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dystocia was circa 1706

Dictionary Entries Near dystocia




Cite this Entry

“Dystocia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dystocia. Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


dys·​to·​cia dis-ˈtō-sh(ē-)ə How to pronounce dystocia (audio)
variants or dystokia
: slow or difficult labor or delivery compare eutocia
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