[aw-tuh-fey-juh, -jee-uh]
noun Physiology.
  1. controlled digestion of damaged organelles within a cell.
  2. the maintenance of bodily nutrition by the metabolic breakdown of some bodily tissues.
Also au·toph·a·gy [aw-tof-uh-jee] /ɔˈtɒf ə dʒi/.

Origin of autophagia

Related formsau·to·phag·ic [aw-tuh-faj-ik] /ˌɔ təˈfædʒ ɪk/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

autophagy in Medicine


  1. The biting of one's own flesh.
  2. or au•toph•a•gy (ô-tŏfə-jē) The segregation and disposal of damaged organelles within a cell.
  3. or autophagy The maintenance of the nutrition of the whole body by metabolic consumption of some of the body tissues.
Related formsau′to•phagic (-făjĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.