pa·​thol·​o·​gize pə-ˈthä-lə-ˌjīz How to pronounce pathologize (audio)
pathologized; pathologizing

transitive verb

: to view or characterize as medically or psychologically abnormal
natural hormonal shifts have been pathologizedJoyce C. Mills

Examples of pathologize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Until 2013, sadomasochism, along with fetishism, was pathologized as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the DSM—a ruling with legal implications for jobs, parental rights. R. O. Kwon, TIME, 17 May 2024 Still, many people, including those in the fat acceptance movement, do not believe their bodies should be pathologized. Andrea Kane, CNN, 15 Mar. 2024 If programs pathologize some teen behaviors, parents are often frightened, leaving them to feel as if sending their kid away is their only option. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, 20 Feb. 2024 This is not to pathologize conspiracy believers, who, in any case, are hard to pigeonhole. Keith Kloor, Scientific American, 9 Feb. 2024 Caroline Hickman, a researcher on eco-anxiety from the University of Bath, cautions that the feelings of worry, grief, despair, and despondency associated with eco-anxiety should not be pathologized. Tori Tsui, WIRED, 22 Jan. 2024 Both of these differences have been measure many times from the position of pathologizing neurodivergent people. Nancy Doyle, Forbes, 11 Dec. 2023 Although the decluttering movement can sometimes pathologize a close relationship with objects, our connection with our belongings is not to be dismissed. Britt Peterson, Washington Post, 6 Sep. 2023 The character was narrated as so self-evidently terrific, so authentically in touch with their desires, so honest and fulfilled and free that dissenters were implicitly pathologized as part of the oppressive society Che transcended in their journey to self-acceptance. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 21 June 2023

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

Word History


pathology + -ize

First Known Use

1649, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pathologize was in 1649

Dictionary Entries Near pathologize

Cite this Entry

“Pathologize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


transitive verb
variants or chiefly British pathologise
pathologized or chiefly British pathologised; pathologizing or chiefly British pathologising
: to view or characterize as medically or psychologically abnormal
natural hormonal shifts have been pathologizedJoyce C. Mills
pathologizing childhood behaviorRuth Shalit
pathologization noun
or chiefly British pathologisation
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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