“Disfunction” or “Dysfunction” – Correct Version Explained

Marcus Froland

Are you wondering which version of the word ‘dysfunction’ or ‘disfunction’ is correct? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll look at the difference between these two words and why it’s important to use the right one.

We’ll also provide examples of how to use each version in a sentence as well as helpful tips for remembering which one is correct.

So let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Dysfunction and disfunction both refer to abnormal or impaired functioning.
  • Dysfunction relates to inability to meet expectations, either physically or mentally.
  • Disfunction refers to something not working correctly, usually within a system or organization.
  • Using the wrong version can change the meaning of a word drastically.

The Meaning of Dysfunction and Disfunction

You may have noticed two similar words – dysfunction and disfunction. Both refer to an abnormal or impaired functioning. Dysfunction relates to a person’s inability to do something that is normally expected of them, either physically or mentally.

Disfunction refers to something not working correctly, typically within a system or organization. For example, when discussing the performance of a machine, one might say that it has ‘disfunctioned’.

In both cases, the terms imply problems which are preventing a process from being successful or working as intended. Dysfunction can also be used in relation to psychological issues where there is an inability on the part of an individual to act according to society’s expectations and norms, such as with depression or anxiety.

The correct spelling of these terms depends on context and usage; however ‘dysfunction’ is generally the preferred form for both meanings.

A Grammatical Comparison of Dysfunction and Disfunction

Comparing the two spellings can be tricky. Dysfunction is the correct spelling of the word, and disfunction is a commonly seen misspelling.

Dys- is a prefix that means "bad" or "difficult" and -tion is a suffix meaning action or process. So, dysfunction literally means "a bad or difficult action or process".

Dis- indicates negation, so disfunction would mean the opposite, i.e., "no action or process", which doesn’t make any sense in this context.

Knowing these rules will help you to avoid confusion when choosing between dys- and dis-.

Examples of Dysfunction and Disfunction in Context

It’s important to understand the difference between dys- and dis- when using them in context, as they can dramatically change the meaning of a word.

For example, ‘dysfunction’ is often used to describe a situation or system that doesn’t work well, while ‘disfunction’ could be used to describe an individual who is not behaving in a socially accepted manner.

In other words, ‘dysfunction’ implies a malfunctioning within an established system or norms, while ‘disfunction’ refers to an individual’s behaviour that is considered unacceptable or inappropriate by society.

Knowing how these two terms are used differently can help us better understand their distinct meanings and use them more accurately.

Why It Matters to Use the Correct Version

Using the wrong version of dys- or dis- can drastically change the meaning of a word. So, it’s important to be sure to use the right one.

Take, for example, ‘dysfunction’ and ‘disfunction’. Dysfunction means something is not functioning correctly or properly. On the other hand, disfunction means something is not united.

Knowing which version to use is critical in conveying your intended message. It can also have an influence on how people interpret what you are saying.

To ensure accuracy and clarity, always double-check that you’re using the correct form of dys- or dis-. Taking this extra step will help you communicate more effectively and avoid any potential confusion.

How to Remember Which Version Is Correct

Remembering which version is correct can be difficult, but there are a few tricks to help.

To remember ‘dysfunction’, recall that the ‘y’ comes first in the word and think of it as meaning ‘abnormal’: ‘ab-Y-normal’.

Use mnemonics or rhymes to memorize this: ‘When Y comes before S, you have dysfunction!’

For ‘disfunction’, focus on the prefix and suffix: dis-function.

Recite this phrase to yourself: ‘The prefix dis means not; function is what something does.’ This will help you remember that disfunction means ‘not functioning’.


It’s important to use the correct version when writing about dysfunction or dysfunction. Dysfunction is the right way to spell it, and you’ll want to double-check that you have the right one before submitting any work.

Remembering that ‘dys’ means ‘difficult or bad’ can help you choose the right spelling each time. Knowing this difference will help your writing be accurate, precise, and clear.