(noun) A lack of proper nutrition due to inadequate digestion and absorption, insufficient food, or a poorly balanced diet.

Example: A deficiency in one or more vitamins is called avitaminosis such as scurvy which is caused by lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and rickets by a lack of vitamin D.

Audio Pronunciation: (mal·nu·tri·tion)

Download Audio Pronunciation: malnutrition.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: malnutritions
  • Malnutrition is defined not as a lack of nutrition, but poor nutrition. For example, kwashiorkor is caused by a diet high in carbohydrates and low in protein.
  • The manifested physical effects of malnutrition are called deficiency diseases.

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Works Consulted

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Bender, David A. 2014. A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.

Farlex. (N.d.) Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus. Farlex. (

Fowler, Henry Watson, and Robert Allen. 2008. Pocket Fowler’s Modern English Usage. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kent, Michael. 2007. The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science & Medicine. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Last, John M, ed. 2007. A Dictionary of Public Health. New York: Oxford University Press.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (

Martin, Elizabeth, ed. 2010. Concise Medical Dictionary. 8th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Martin, Elizabeth, and Robert Hine, eds. 2008. A Dictionary of Biology. 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (

Park, Chris C.. 2007. A Dictionary of Environment and Conservation. New York: Oxford University Press.

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (


How to Cite the Definition of Malnutrition

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “malnutrition.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 16, 2019 (

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

malnutrition. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “malnutrition.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 16, 2019.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“malnutrition.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 16 Jun. 2019. <>.