au·​top·​sy | \ ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē How to pronounce autopsy (audio) , ˈȯ-təp-\
plural autopsies

Definition of autopsy

1 : an examination of a body after death to determine the cause of death or the character and extent of changes produced by disease

called also necropsy

2 : a critical examination, evaluation, or assessment of someone or something past

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Other Words from autopsy

autopsy transitive verb

Examples of autopsy in a Sentence

The coroner performed an autopsy on the murder victim's body. the autopsy revealed an advanced stage of cancer

Recent Examples on the Web

An autopsy determined that Duncan, of the 500 block of North St. Louis Avenue in East Garfield Park, died of multiple injures from an assault and her death was ruled a homicide, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. Chicago Tribune,, "Woman found slain along river in Goose Island identified," 10 July 2018 An autopsy performed by the State Medical Examiner Office determined he was mauled by a brown bear. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Trail has gone cold’: Bear traps no longer set in wake of Eagle River maulings," 2 July 2018 An autopsy determined that Walker died of smoke inhalation, the affidavit states. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Man charged with murder of grandmother, 79, in Gary house fire," 29 June 2018 Los Angeles County coroner’s Deputy Chief Ed Winter said that an autopsy had determined that Beaudette, 35, of Irvine was killed by a gunshot to the head last Friday shortly before 5 a.m at the campground. Richard Winton,, "Father killed at Malibu campground was shot in head, coroner says," 27 June 2018 An autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine the man’s cause of death. Sarah Meehan,, "Baltimore County police find body behind dumpster at Eastpoint Mall in Dundalk," 11 June 2018 An autopsy determined that Burke died of multiple stab and incised wounds. Erin Mccarthy,, "Woman charged in gruesome slaying of her grandmother in their Ambler home," 5 June 2018 On Tuesday, an autopsy determined Frances Nash’s cause of death was homicide, according to the Union Leader. Harriet Sokmensuer,, "Missing N.H. Mom is Found Stabbed to Death — and Her Son Is Person of Interest," 23 May 2018 CBS Baltimore reported that she was taken to Medstar Franklin Square hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 2:50 p.m. An autopsy will determine her cause of death. CBS News, "16-year-old arrested, 3 others in custody after slaying of Md. officer," 22 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'autopsy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of autopsy

1678, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for autopsy

Greek autopsia act of seeing with one's own eyes, from aut- + opsis sight, appearance — more at optic

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Statistics for autopsy

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for autopsy

The first known use of autopsy was in 1678

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English Language Learners Definition of autopsy

: an examination of a dead body to find out the cause of death


au·​top·​sy | \ ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē How to pronounce autopsy (audio) , ˈȯt-əp- How to pronounce autopsy (audio) \
plural autopsies

Medical Definition of autopsy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an examination of the body after death usually with such dissection as will expose the vital organs for determining the cause of death or the character and extent of changes produced by disease

called also necropsy, postmortem, postmortem examination


transitive verb
autopsied; autopsying

Medical Definition of autopsy (Entry 2 of 2)

: to perform an autopsy on


au·​top·​sy | \ ˈȯ-ˌtäp-sē, -təp- How to pronounce autopsy (audio) \
plural autopsies

Legal Definition of autopsy

: an examination of a body after death usually involving dissection especially to determine the cause of death

called also post mortem, post mortem examination

Other Words from autopsy

autopsy transitive verb

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Comments on autopsy

What made you want to look up autopsy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to boil down or concentrate

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