dystrophy

noun

dys·​tro·​phy ˈdi-strə-fē How to pronounce dystrophy (audio)
plural dystrophies
1
: a condition produced by faulty nutrition
2
: any myogenic atrophy
especially : muscular dystrophy

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Breaking Down Dystrophy

Since the prefix dys- means "bad" or "difficult", dystrophy is always a negative term. Originally it meant "a condition caused by improper nutrition", but today the term is instead used for a variety of other conditions, particularly conditions that noticeably affect the muscles. Of the many types of muscular dystrophy, the best known is Duchenne's, a terrible disease that strikes about one in 3,300 males and produces severe wasting of the muscles. However, the muscular dystrophies generally affect many other organs and systems as well. And the other dystrophies, which tend to involve the eyes or hands, don't much resemble the muscular dystrophies.

Examples of dystrophy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Another study investigated the effects of injecting human corneal endothelial cells cultured on a Descemet's membrane (DM) substrate and found promising results in patients with Fuchs's endothelial corneal dystrophy. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 17 Feb. 2024 There are different variations, this one is type 4J. Something called congenital hereditary endothelial dystrophy. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 24 May 2023 The disease is also known as hereditary retinal dystrophy. Robert Hart, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2023 Talkington was diagnosed with rod-cone dystrophy. New York Times, 1 July 2021 In a strange twist of fate, Eichelberger found out a few months ago that her 7-year-old daughter has a form of ocular dystrophy that affects her eyesight. Pam McLoughlin, Hartford Courant, 19 Sep. 2022 Myotonic dystrophy is a rare, inherited disease that affects the muscles and other body systems. Julie Washington, cleveland, 16 Apr. 2022 Myotonic dystrophy is usually caused by a gene mutation. Julie Washington, cleveland, 16 Apr. 2022 Myotonic dystrophy type 2, is an even rarer form of the the condition and its exact prevalence is unknown. Maggie O'Neill, Health.com, 15 Apr. 2022

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

Word History

Etymology

dys- + -trophy, after New Latin dystrophia, French dystrophie or German Dystrophie

First Known Use

1901, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dystrophy was in 1901

Dictionary Entries Near dystrophy

dystrophin

dystrophy

dysuria

Cite this Entry

“Dystrophy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dystrophy. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Medical Definition

dystrophy

noun
dys·​tro·​phy ˈdis-trə-fē How to pronounce dystrophy (audio)
plural dystrophies
1
: a condition produced by faulty nutrition
waters with a high fluorine content are responsible for the dental dystrophy known as mottled enamelLancet
2
: any myogenic atrophy
especially : muscular dystrophy

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