Anencephalies – Definition & Meaning

Anencephalies are a rare congenital disorder that affects the brain and skull of a developing fetus. This condition is characterized by the absence of major portions of the brain, skull, and scalp. The term anencephalies is derived from the Greek words “an” meaning without, and “enkephalos” meaning brain. In this article, we will explore the definition, meaning, origin, and associations of anencephalies.


Anencephalies are a neural tube defect that occurs during the early stages of fetal development. This condition is caused by the failure of the neural tube to close properly, resulting in the absence of the major portions of the brain, skull, and scalp. Infants born with anencephalies are typically stillborn or die shortly after birth.


Anencephalies have been documented throughout history, but the first recorded case was in 1817. The condition is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, although the exact cause is unknown.

Meaning in different dictionaries

The meaning of anencephalies in different dictionaries is consistent with the medical definition. For example, Merriam-Webster defines anencephalies as “congenital absence of the brain and spinal cord.” Oxford Languages defines it as “a congenital condition characterized by the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp.”


Anencephalies are associated with a range of health complications, including stillbirth, neonatal death, and an increased risk of neural tube defects in future pregnancies. The condition is also associated with maternal exposure to certain drugs, toxins, and infections during pregnancy.


Some synonyms of anencephalies include:

  • Acrania.
  • Cephalic disorder.
  • Cranial dysraphism.
  • Encephalocele.


As anencephalies are a medical condition, there are no antonyms.

The same root words

Anencephalies share the same root words as other medical terms related to the brain and nervous system. Some examples include:

  • Encephalitis.
  • Encephalopathy.
  • Cephalalgia.
  • Meningitis.

Example Sentences

  • The doctors informed the couple that their baby had anencephalies and would not survive.
  • Anencephalies are a rare condition that affects the brain and skull of developing fetuses.
  • Maternal exposure to certain drugs, toxins, and infections during pregnancy can increase the risk of anencephalies.
Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Words Wiki
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: