Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Pathology A wasting or decrease in size of a body organ, tissue, or part owing to disease, injury, or lack of use: muscular atrophy of a person affected with paralysis.
  • n. A wasting away, deterioration, or diminution: intellectual atrophy.
  • transitive v. To cause to wither or deteriorate; affect with atrophy.
  • intransitive v. To waste away; wither or deteriorate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A reduction in the functionality of an organ caused by disease, injury or lack of use.
  • v. To wither or waste away.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A wasting away from lack of nourishment; diminution in bulk or slow emaciation of the body or of any part.
  • intransitive v. To waste away; to dwindle.
  • transitive v. To cause to waste away or become abortive; to starve or weaken.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To waste away.
  • n. A wasting of the body, or of a part of it, owing to defective nutrition.
  • n. In botany and zoology, arrested development of an organ due to stoppage of growth at any stage by the operation of causes either external to or inherent in the organism.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a decrease in size of an organ caused by disease or disuse
  • n. any weakening or degeneration (especially through lack of use)
  • v. undergo atrophy

Etymologies

Late Latin atrophia, from Greek atrophiā, from atrophos, ill-nourished : a-, without; see a-1 + trophē, food.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French atrophie, from Latin atrophia, from Ancient Greek ἀτροφία (atrophia, "a wasting away"), from ἄτροφος (atrophos, "ill-fed, un-nourished"), from ἀ- (a-, "not") + τροφή (trophē, "nourishment"), from τρέφω (trephō, "I fatten"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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