Definition of atrophy in US English:

atrophy

verb

[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’
    ‘in some beetles, the hind wings are atrophied’
    • ‘Her muscles haven't atrophied at all, and according to all data, she's in perfect health.’
    • ‘The cells gradually degenerate over a period of time and cause paralysis as muscles atrophy throughout the body.’
    • ‘Listen, Lorus, his body has atrophied to the point where he can't move.’
    • ‘Extended periods in low or zero gravity take their toll on the human body: bones begin to decalcify as they experience less stress, and muscles atrophy, also as a result of disuse.’
    • ‘In 1939 he underwent surgery for a brain tumour and emerged with one side of his face paralysed, his tongue atrophied and his behaviour even more erratic.’
    • ‘Just like other muscles, the brain atrophies if not used.’
    • ‘The brain actually atrophies when it isn't stimulated enough.’
    • ‘Creatine has also been tested with positive results in those whose muscles have atrophied due to neuromuscular diseases.’
    • ‘The gland then atrophies if it doesn't rot away.’
    • ‘As a result, muscles become atrophied, or wasted.’
    • ‘‘As with any organic being after death, tissues will decompose and the body will atrophy, making actual measurements change over time,’ Holyoak said.’
    • ‘As the body ages, muscles begin to atrophy, slowly being replaced by fat.’
    • ‘Computed tomography scans showed that her cerebral hemispheres had atrophied, and electroencephalograms showed that she was without any cortical activity.’
    • ‘The retinal pigment membrane cells slowly degenerate and atrophy, and central vision is lost.’
    • ‘In space, the blood itself becomes weightless, and the heart will eventually atrophy because it has to work less to pump blood through the body.’
    • ‘In addition, your muscles might atrophy and you could have trouble walking.’
    • ‘I watched my hard-earned muscles atrophy and I knew my cardiovascular endurance was diminishing every day Although I felt depressed and frustrated, I knew I was lucky to be alive.’
    • ‘The main goal is for him to regain strength in his shoulder, back and upper arm because the muscles could atrophy from non-use.’
    • ‘Even after the original injury has healed, patients may still be in pain or very susceptible because their muscles have atrophied and there's nothing protecting them from sprains and strains.’
    • ‘Her muscles had atrophied in her hindquarters giving her front half a bulky football player look.’
    waste away, waste, become emaciated, wither, shrivel, shrivel up, shrink, become shrunken, dry up, decay, wilt
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  • 2Gradually decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse or neglect.

    ‘her artistic skills atrophied from lack of use’
    • ‘I haven't done anything except costumes for so long that my imagination in that area is atrophied.’
    • ‘Contrast that reality with the medical profession, say, whose practitioners would soon find themselves uninsurable were they to permit their professional knowledge and skills to atrophy.’
    • ‘There's no telling how much further my language skills will atrophy.’
    • ‘Command and control involves perishable skills that atrophy in the absence of training.’
    • ‘One consequence of this development is that their imaginations are beginning to atrophy: play is all about the destination, rather than the journey.’
    • ‘Cabinet government of the traditional model has manifestly atrophied over the past seven years, by deliberate neglect, not accident.’
    • ‘There would be a flurry of coding and decoding activity in time of war, but with the coming of peace, cryptographic knowledge and skills would atrophy and have to be relearned again at the next outbreak of hostilities.’
    • ‘As the long-term unemployed lose touch with the labour market, their self-esteem falls and their job skills atrophy.’
    • ‘‘Mainframe skills have been atrophying in the U.S.,’ he says.’
    • ‘The obvious concern with a decline in reading is that such a trend causes critical thinking skills and one's imagination to atrophy.’
    • ‘For creativity is a muscle that must be worked or it will gradually atrophy and wither.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, the social skills of children atrophy when they watch television instead of playing.’
    • ‘Whatever hitting skills these transient players once had are now atrophied from disuse.’
    • ‘It is difficult to envision how this inflationary boom can run smoothly for a sector so atrophied after years of neglect.’
    • ‘With everyone's imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.’
    • ‘He says, ‘We have undermined the purpose of the United Nations and caused its effectiveness to atrophy.’’
    • ‘But unless we allow our imaginations to become completely atrophied, we will be influenced by both secular art and the base obscenities that are prevalent in our society.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Perhaps a radical change of pace is exactly the stimulus this brilliant musician needs to help him realize his full artistic potential before it atrophies altogether.’
    • ‘It has been a very busy couple of months and unfortunately this blog has rather atrophied from lack of time and input.’
    • ‘The sciences atrophied during the post-World War I industrial decline.’
    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
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noun

  • The process of atrophying or state of having atrophied.

    ‘gastric atrophy’
    ‘extensive TV viewing may lead to atrophy of children's imaginations’
    • ‘During the immobilization of a fracture, all nonimmobilized parts must be moved to avoid stiffness, muscle atrophy and joint contractures.’
    • ‘Evaluation of the wrist should begin with identifying erythema, swelling, masses, skin lesions, muscle atrophy, contractures, scars, or other obvious deformities.’
    • ‘Lack of gravitational forces leads to muscle atrophy, decreased muscle tone and strength, and neuromuscular changes (eg, fatigue, slowed tendon reflexes).’
    • ‘MRI revealed temporal lobe atrophy in two patients presenting with dementia.’
    • ‘Muscles deteriorate in microgravity conditions; significant muscle atrophy has been seen in humans after only five days in space.’
    • ‘It has been theorized that changes in everyday experiences and activity patterns may result in disuse and consequent atrophy of cognitive processes and skills.’
    • ‘The pelvic examination should include an evaluation for inflammation, infection and atrophy.’
    • ‘Physical therapy is directed at preventing atrophy and contractures, and is particularly necessary in patients with calcinosis and muscle involvement.’
    • ‘Coeliac disease is characterised histologically by total or subtotal villous atrophy.’
    • ‘This loss occurs because of quadricep inhibition, which then leads to muscle atrophy.’
    • ‘Polio, a disease that attacks the nervous system, usually infects young children resulting in paralysis and muscular atrophy.’
    • ‘Potential complications associated with long-term steroid use are atrophy, steroid-induced acne, rosacea, and striae.’
    • ‘Because of atrophy, cervical stenosis, or other conditions, obtaining satisfactory cervical samples from older women may be difficult.’
    • ‘Decreased grip strength may result in loss of dexterity, and thenar muscle atrophy may develop if the syndrome is severe.’
    • ‘Mucosal atrophy may result when dietary sources of fatty acids are lacking or when the fecal stream is diverted by an ileostomy or colostomy.’
    • ‘Researchers administered cognitive function tests to 3,734 men, obtained brain images from 574 men, and evaluated brain atrophy in 290 male autopsy results.’
    • ‘Repair within three weeks of injury is recommended to avoid tendon retraction, reinjury, tendon degeneration and muscle atrophy.’
    • ‘It usually presents with pain and muscle weakness with atrophy in the shoulder girdle.’
    • ‘This is also called optic atrophy, and may be present at birth or may appear because of a condition such as diabetes.’
    • ‘Patients who are overweight often suffer from muscle atrophy caused by inactivity, which worsens back symptoms and problems.’
    • ‘Spinal muscular atrophy is a degenerative condition which is untreatable.’
    • ‘MRI reveals relative atrophy of the frontal lobes and the anterior temporal lobes.’
    wasting, wasting away, emaciation, withering, shrivelling, shrivelling up, shrinking, drying up, wilting, decaying, decay
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Origin

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

Pronunciation

atrophy

/ˈatrəfē//ˈætrəfi/