dys·​tro·​phy | \ ˈdi-strə-fē How to pronounce dystrophy (audio) \
plural dystrophies

Definition of dystrophy

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

Alyson Johnston was 12 when she was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a macular dystrophy condition that causes central vision to deteriorate over time. High School Journalism Institute, oregonlive.com, "Teen finds outlet in writing after life-changing diagnosis," 20 July 2019 Carla suffered from cone-rod dystrophy, a condition that causes a person's vision to deteriorate over time. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "When a solo traveler went missing in Peru, it changed her family's lives completely," 9 June 2019 Falkowski has had several eye surgeries after being diagnosed with Fuchs’ dystrophy, a genetic disorder of the cornea that has left him legally blind in one eye, his attorney said. Kelly Brennan, Philly.com, "Former QVC exec gets 30 months in prison for bilking $1M from network," 10 July 2018 If that sounds modest, boys with 10% or even 5% of normal levels have a much more mild dystrophy known as Becker. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Risky Drug Approval Lesson," 4 July 2018 The one-time treatment is approved for children and adults with retinal dystrophy due to a mutation of the RPE65 gene, which causes severe visual impairment beginning in infancy. Debra Goldschmidt And Susan Scutti, CNN, "FDA approves gene therapy for a type of blindness," 20 Dec. 2017 The new approval will treat a type of retinal dystrophy, a rare vision disorder that involves mutations to genes critical to retinal function; retinal cells convert light into electrical signals to the brain, which translates them into images. Alice Park, Time, "FDA Approves a New Way For Scientists to Use Gene Therapy," 20 Dec. 2017 In this case, the gene therapy treats a condition called retinal dystrophy. Kate Sheridan, Newsweek, "Gene Therapy: How a New Cure for Blindness Reverses Retinal Dystrophy," 12 Oct. 2017 Retinal dystrophy due to mutation of the RPE65 gene causes severe visual impairment beginning in infancy. Susan Scutti, CNN, "FDA panel unanimously votes to approve gene therapy for blindness," 12 Oct. 2017

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

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First Known Use of dystrophy

1901, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dystrophy

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

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Statistics for dystrophy

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for dystrophy

The first known use of dystrophy was in 1901

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More Definitions for dystrophy


dys·​tro·​phy | \ ˈdis-trə-fē How to pronounce dystrophy (audio) \
plural dystrophies

Medical Definition of dystrophy

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

More from Merriam-Webster on dystrophy

Spanish Central: Translation of dystrophy

Nglish: Translation of dystrophy for Spanish Speakers

Comments on dystrophy

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a topic to which one constantly reverts

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