Definition of atrophy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈatrəfi/

verb (atrophies, atrophying, atrophied)

[no object]
1(Of body tissue or an organ) waste away, especially as a result of the degeneration of cells, or become vestigial during evolution: the calf muscles will atrophy (as adjective atrophied) in some beetles, the hindwings 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, waste, become emaciated, wither, shrivel, shrivel up, shrink, become shrunken, dry up, decay, wilt;
decline, deteriorate, degenerate, grow weak, weaken, become debilitated, become enfeebled
2Gradually decline in effectiveness or vigour due to underuse or neglect: the imagination can atrophy 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.
peter out, taper off, tail off, dwindle, deteriorate, decline, wane, fade, fade away, fade out, give in, give up, give way, crumble, disintegrate, collapse, slump, go downhill, draw to a close, subside;
be neglected, be abandoned, be disregarded, be forgotten


[mass noun]
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, wasting away, emaciation, withering, shrivelling, shrivelling up, shrinking, drying up, wilting, decaying, decay;
declining, deteriorating, deterioration, degenerating, degeneration, weakening, debilitation, enfeeblement



Pronunciation: /aˈtrɒfɪk/
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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: at¦ro|phy

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