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.
  • transitive v. To cause to waste away or become abortive; to starve or weaken.
  • intransitive v. To waste away; to dwindle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • To waste away.

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


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)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.