One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Premature degeneration of cells or tissue (now usually within the central nervous system), especially when hereditary or otherwise independent of external factors; an instance of this; any condition characterized by this.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in William Richard Gowers (1845–1915), physician. From a- + Hellenistic Greek βιοτρόϕος life-sustaining (from ancient Greek βίο- + -τροϕος, combining form from an ablaut variant of the base of τρέϕειν to nourish: see tropho-) + -y. See quot. 1902.
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