mis·​fold | \ ˌmis-ˈfōld How to pronounce misfold (audio) \
misfolded; misfolding; misfolds

Definition of misfold

intransitive verb

of a protein
: to fold into an incorrect three-dimensional shape that is typically nonfunctional and often resistant to breakdown Prions force proteins to misfold throughout the nervous system and bone marrow, eventually ravaging the brain and crippling the afflicted cow.— Cathy Booth Thomas

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from misfold

misfolded \ ˌmis-​ˈfōl-​dəd How to pronounce misfold (audio) \ adjective
Scientists have identified a handful of diseases caused by misfolded proteins called prions … — Nathan Seppa

Examples of misfold in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some of the structures made possible by a larger alphabet might be of poor quality, with a greater risk of misfolding, Ellington said. Quanta Magazine, "New Letters Added to the Genetic Alphabet," 10 July 2015 Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease is a rare brain disorder caused by misfolding brain proteins called prions. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Man Contracted a Rare, Fatal Disease From Eating Squirrel Brains," 17 Oct. 2018 The scientists used a technique called protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) to test for the presence of CWD prions in soil and water taken from mineral licks in south-central Wisconsin. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW researchers verify chronic wasting disease prions at mineral lick sites," 2 May 2018 Sometime in the next year, Gandy’s team hopes to have the tau-positive patients from its imaging study participate in a small clinical trial of a new medication that has shown the ability to repair and clear out misfolded tau in animals. Patrick Hruby, The Atlantic, "The Future of Detecting Brain Damage in Football," 21 Sep. 2017 But prions are misfolded in sections, taking on a flat shape rather than the normal spiraling pattern. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In tracking a lethal family of diseases that threatens humans and animals, scientists have become the hunters," 6 July 2017 In which book was a puffy, misfolded map found on a workbench? Andrea Mills, Orange County Register, "In Our Schools: Officials help school children read with America," 8 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'misfold.' 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 misfold

1971, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about misfold

Time Traveler for misfold

Time Traveler

The first known use of misfold was in 1971

See more words from the same year

Statistics for misfold

Cite this Entry

“Misfold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misfold. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for misfold

mis·​fold | \ ˌmis-ˈfōld How to pronounce misfold (audio) \
misfolded; misfolding

Medical Definition of misfold

of a protein
: to fold into an incorrect three-dimensional shape that is typically nonfunctional and often resistant to breakdown The abnormal prions induce normal prion proteins to misfold, and eventually the brain develops spongelike holes.— Bette Hileman

Other Words from misfold

misfolded adjective
These findings may help researchers develop new treatments for Alzheimer's disease and other kinds of neurodegenerative disorders associated with an accumulation of misfolded proteins in cells. — Alison McCook

Comments on misfold

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!