“Disfunction” or “Dysfunction” – Correct Version Explained

Prefixes and suffixes come up every now and then in writing. Therefore, it’s helpful to know how different ones affect different words. This article will explore the spelling of “dysfunction” or “disfunction” and how to use it correctly.

Is It “Disfunction” Or “Dysfunction”?

“Dysfunction” is the only grammatically correct spelling we can use. It is correct because it uses the Greek prefix “dys-,” which means “bad” or “difficult.” While “dis-” is also a prefix for some words, it is not the appropriate prefix we want to use when talking about “bad functions.”

disfunction or dysfunction

The confusion comes from using other “dis-” words like:

  • Disallowed
  • Disassociated
  • Discovered

However, “dis-” means “not” or “none” in Greek, which is why it’s acceptable in these cases. We could translate it to mean “not allowed,” “not associated,” and “not covered,” respectively.

If we use “disfunction,” it would mean “not function.” However, this meaning is incorrect since “dysfunction” means that something is faulty or functioning badly. That’s why “dys-” is the more appropriate prefix in this case.

Is It Ever Correct To Use “Disfunction”?

There are no cases where “disfunction” is correct. It is not an officially recognized spelling because it uses the wrong Greek prefix when establishing that something does not function correctly.

The definition of “dysfunction,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a problem or fault in a part of the body or a machine.”

As you can see, The Cambridge Dictionary only recognizes “dysfunction” as the correct spelling variation. There is no mention of “disfunction” because it is not something that works.

If you need more proof, you can refer to Google Ngram Viewer. The graph shows that “dysfunction” is the only grammatically correct choice of the two spelling variations.

disfunction or dysfunction historical usage

There are almost zero uses of “disfunction,” and the only times when it is mentioned seem to be spelling mistakes.

What Does “Dysfunction” Or “Disfunction” Mean?

So, let’s circle back to the original meaning. We’ve already established that only “dysfunction” is correct, so it’s the only one we will focus on.

“Dysfunction” means that something is not working correctly. It can refer to a machine or body, and it usually shows that something is functioning poorly or has a fault in it that needs fixing.

If a machine has a dysfunction, it usually requires a mechanic or technician to fix it. It depends on the problem, but it would require someone’s expertise to help right whatever is wrong with it.

If a body has a dysfunction, it can mean that someone is suffering from something they don’t know how to handle. We would entrust a doctor or nurse with the job of trying to fix whatever our dysfunction may be.

Examples Of How To Use “Disfunction” And “Dysfunction” In A Sentence

We’re going to include some examples now to help you understand it better. We’ll include both spelling variations to highlight which one is correct.

  • Correct: There are a few mechanical dysfunctions that we need to go over here before this is completed.
  • Incorrect: I’m disfunctional, and I don’t know what to tell the doctor to help me get back to normal.
  • Correct: I don’t mean to point out the dysfunction, but don’t you think it would make more sense to correct it first?
  • Incorrect: This disfunction is getting a bit too difficult for me to handle on my own.
  • Correct: My body has a few dysfunctions, and I would really like to find a way to fix them.
  • Incorrect: The disfunctions in this joint bracket are causing issues in the overall machine.
  • Correct: What dysfunctions are you talking about? I haven’t seen any.
  • Incorrect: I didn’t realize you had so many disfunctions in your body! I’m so sorry!
  • Correct: This is completely dysfunctional! You should start again!
  • Incorrect: I don’t agree with you about the disfunction of this machine. I think it works fine!

“Dysfunction” is the only correct spelling variation. You can see that it works well in many cases to talk about faults in machines or bodies. Never spell it as “disfunction.”

“Dysfunction” – Synonyms

Perhaps you’d benefit from checking out some synonyms to “dysfunction.” Most of these use different prefixes, which could be interesting to learn about:

  • Malfunction
  • Disorder
  • Disruption
  • Failure
  • Breakdown
  • Miscarriage
  • Disturbance
  • Unrest