dys·​to·​cia | \ dis-ˈtō-sh(ē-)ə How to pronounce dystocia (audio) \

Definition of dystocia

: slow or difficult labor or delivery

Examples of dystocia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Complications like shoulder dystocia are rare in obstetrics. Adam Wolfberg, The Atlantic, 26 May 2017

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

First Known Use of dystocia

circa 1706, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dystocia

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).

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The first known use of dystocia was circa 1706

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Cite this Entry

“Dystocia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dystocia. Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for dystocia


dys·​to·​cia | \ dis-ˈtō-sh(ē-)ə How to pronounce dystocia (audio) \
variants: or dystokia \ -​ˈtō-​kē-​ə How to pronounce dystocia (audio) \

Medical Definition of dystocia

: slow or difficult labor or delivery — compare eutocia


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