: a usually elected public officer who is typically not required to have specific medical qualifications and whose principal duty is to inquire by an inquest into the cause of any death which there is reason to suppose is not due to natural causes—see medical examiner 1
Public official whose principal duty is to inquire into any death that appears to be unnatural. The name of the office as it emerged in England in the late 12th century was originally crowner (also called coronator), a reference to the coroner's principal duty of protecting the crown's property. By the late 19th century, the coroner's role had shifted to that of conducting inquests into unnatural deaths. In Canada, all coroners are appointed. In the U.S., the office is elective or appointive, depending on the jurisdiction. Coroners often possess both legal and medical qualifications, but the office is sometimes filled by laypersons, including undertakers, sheriffs, and justices of the peace. In many states the office has been replaced by that of the medical examiner, who is usually a licensed pathologist.