Definition of atrophy in English:


Syllabification: at·ro·phy
Pronunciation: /ˈatrəfē

verb (atrophies, atrophying, atrophied)

[no object]
  • 1(Of body tissue or an organ) waste away, typically due to the degeneration of cells, or become vestigial during evolution: without exercise, the muscles will atrophy (as adjective atrophied) in some beetles, the hind wings are atrophied
    More example sentences
    • The cells gradually degenerate over a period of time and cause paralysis as muscles atrophy throughout the body.
    • The retinal pigment membrane cells slowly degenerate and atrophy, and central vision is lost.
    • In addition, your muscles might atrophy and you could have trouble walking.
    waste away, become emaciated, wither, shrivel (up), shrink; decay, decline, deteriorate, degenerate, weaken
  • 2Gradually decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse or neglect: her artistic skills atrophied from lack of use
    More example sentences
    • For creativity is a muscle that must be worked or it will gradually atrophy and wither.
    • It is difficult to envision how this inflationary boom can run smoothly for a sector so atrophied after years of neglect.
    • The meeting would have gone well but being a blogger and spending most of my free time online, my social skills have atrophied to the point where I can now barely manage to get served in shops.


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  • The process of atrophying or state of having atrophied: gastric atrophy extensive TV viewing may lead to atrophy of children’s imaginations
    More example sentences
    • Evaluation of the wrist should begin with identifying erythema, swelling, masses, skin lesions, muscle atrophy, contractures, scars, or other obvious deformities.
    • Spinal muscular atrophy is a degenerative condition which is untreatable.
    • Physical therapy is directed at preventing atrophy and contractures, and is particularly necessary in patients with calcinosis and muscle involvement.
    wasting, emaciation, withering, shriveling, shrinking; decay, decline, deterioration, degeneration, weakening, debilitation, enfeeblement



Pronunciation: /āˈtrōfik, āˈträfik/
More example sentences
  • There has also been an increased incidence of atrophic gastritis and achlorhydria in patients with gluten sensitivity.
  • If multifocal atrophic gastritis is found, repeat surveillance every one to three years should be considered.
  • In atrophic disease, the macula usually shows areas of depigmentation.


late 16th century: from French atrophier (verb), atrophie (noun), from late Latin atrophia, from Greek, 'lack of food', from a- 'without' + trophē 'food'.

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