Dysfunctional is an adjective that describes something that is not functioning as it should, or that is not working properly.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Malfunctioning, defective, faulty, broken, impaired, flawed, inoperative.


Functional, working, operative, effective, efficient, successful.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun dysfunctions, dysfunction
Verb None
Adjective dysfunctional
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The company’s dysfunctional management style led to a high employee turnover rate.

  • The dysfunctional relationship between the parents had a negative impact on their children.

  • The prevalence of corruption, inequality, and a lack of social cohesion in society exposed the deep-rooted dysfunctional aspects that hindered progress, as fractured institutions and a breakdown in trust perpetuated a state of disarray, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to rebuild a more harmonious and equitable social fabric.

  • The dysfunctional government could not effectively respond to the natural disaster.


The word dysfunctional can be used to describe a variety of situations or objects that are not working properly or effectively. It is often used in discussions of family dynamics or interpersonal relationships to describe situations where communication or behavior patterns are not conducive to healthy interactions. Dysfunctional can also be used in the context of organizations or systems that are not working efficiently or productively.

The word dysfunctional can be broken down into its prefix, root, and suffix to gain a better understanding of its meaning. The prefix “dys-” is derived from the Greek language and means “abnormal” or “difficult.” The root word “function” comes from the Latin word “functio,” which means “performance” or “execution.” Finally, the suffix “-al” is added to the root to form the adjective form. Understanding the etymology of the word can help in understanding its meaning.

Other variations of the word “dysfunctional” can be created by adding prefixes and suffixes. For example, the prefix “dis-” can be added to create the word “disfunctional,” which means the same thing as dysfunctional. Alternatively, the suffix “-ity” can be added to create the noun form “dysfunctionality,” which refers to the quality or state of being dysfunctional.

Overall, the word dysfunctional is a useful adjective that can be used to describe a variety of situations where something is not working as it should. By understanding its roots and variations, one can more effectively use the word in both spoken and written communication.